What is PT First?
In musculoskeletal care, Physical Therapy First (or PT First) is a proven path to pain relief and recovery. A PT First approach means that you ask for and receive physical therapy shortly after your injury or pain begins.
Physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals who provide evidence-based treatment immediately addresses your symptoms (like pain or restricted mobility) and the underlying cause of your discomfort (such as an underlying nerve irritation).
PT First differs from the ‘old-fashioned’ approach, where you first see your primary care provider, who then prescribes pain medications or steroids, refers you for diagnostic tests, and then steers you to a consultation with a specialist. PT First means your PCP sends you directly to a physical therapist, a musculoskeletal expert, who delivers natural pain management, education, and self-care tools.
The Benefits to Patients of PT First
As we all know, scheduling medical appointments has challenges and requires time and patience. And access to doctors is only getting more limited, increasing the time you have to wait to be seen. With musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains and strains, time is the big enemy. Injuries like these worsen with time because when pain increases, motion and strength decrease. At worst, your injury can get so aggravated that surgery—once avoidable— becomes the only course of action.
As your partner in care, we work closely with your primary care provider and update them on your progress. Your physical therapist is an extension of your primary care provider. This ensures you receive the best care.Your physical therapist will be the first to refer you back to your doctor if your injury requires sophisticated imaging or the expertise of a specialty physician.
Four Reasons To Ask For Physical Therapy First
Faster Time to Treatment
Patients referred early to physical therapy receive care within 1-2 days vs. 1-2 months when scheduling with specialists or receiving diagnostic testing first. That means less time in pain and a faster recovery.
Lower Patient Costs
Patients with early access to physical therapy avoid the extra costs associated with unnecessary tests and procedures that may not be necessary.
Higher Satisfaction with Physical Therapy Care
Patients who receive access to physical therapy early report higher satisfaction with their care. In fact, our patients report 99% satisfaction!
Fewer Pain Medications
Patients referred to physical therapy early are less likely to need opioid pain medications.
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