MSK Pain: Physical Therapy Referral

Physical Therapy

Have you ever received treatment from a physical therapist (PT)? If so, you have an idea of what therapy is like. If not, you may wonder what it’s about. In either case, it may be helpful to know what to expect if physical therapy is recommended for your musculoskeletal pain.

What Are Physical Therapists?

The American Physical Therapy Association describes physical therapists as: "movement experts who improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. After making a diagnosis, physical therapists create personalized treatment plans that help their patients improve mobility, manage pain and other chronic conditions, recover from injury, and prevent future injury and chronic disease."

How Do I Get PT?

You can choose your own clinic or facility and therapist. Each site is different, so you may need to contact several of them to find the services you need. Ask questions like: Do they have certain specialties (sports therapy, women’s health, etc.)? Which insurance is accepted? Days/hours of operation?

What Should I Expect?

At your first PT appointment, the therapist will complete an assessment. It often involves:

  • Questions about your overall medical history

  • Asking about your musculoskeletal (MSK) pain, for example, how long you have had it, did you injure it or did it worsen over time, what makes it feel better or worse, etc?

  • Physical examination, including range of motion, strength, and movement testing

  • Standard questionnaires about pain, function, and disability

Based on the assessment, they will develop a personalized treatment plan. The plan of care will include:

  • Self-care, including home exercises and safe activities

  • Treatments, such as exercises, heat or cold application, other therapies and modalities

  • Expected length of therapy, i.e. how many weeks

  • Specific goals

What Are PT Treatments for Musculoskeletal Pain?

There are many physical therapy treatments for MSK pain. Your personalized plan may include:

For more information, speak to your Goodpath coach.