3 Reasons You Should #GetPTFirst for Pain

Have you recently experienced back or neck pain? Shoulder or knee pain? Have you considered seeking the advice of a physical therapist (PT) for these conditions? If the answer is no, why not? Waiting to see if the pain goes away on its own? There is evidence to suggest that is not the best approach.

Here are just 3 reasons why consulting with a physical therapist sooner rather than later makes sense.

  1. PTs are Musculoskeletal Experts. Research has shown that PTs have higher levels of knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions than family practitioners, internists, pediatricians, general surgeons and physiatrists, and are second only to orthopedic surgeons in the evaluation and management of these conditions. A PT will not only give you a thorough examination on day 1, but will also guide you through a personalized, evidence-based treatment regimen based on your presentation. You will be continually re-assessed at each visit for changes and progressions will be made appropriately.
  2. Getting PT saves money and improves outcomes. There is evidence that shows early treatment by a physical therapist reduces disability, improves outcomes, and significantly decreases the overall healthcare spend for musculoskeletal conditions.
  3. Safe and effective alternative to opioids. Seeking early PT intervention for a musculoskeletal condition has been shown to reduce the use of opioids, invasive injections and surgery. In a 2017 study comparing total costs for 12 months of treatment for non-traumatic knee pain (osteoarthritis) were 33% less likely than non-rehab control groups to engage in later use of drugs, 50% less likely to receive non-surgical invasive procedures (injections) and 42% less likely to undergo surgery. Using medications to reduce your low back pain? Research has suggested that opioids are ineffective for this condition and that physical therapy is a safe, effective alternative to medications! PT will get to the cause of the problem-not just address the symptoms.

In all 50 states, you can legally access a PT FIRST for your musculoskeletal aches and pains without a referral from a physician. Musculoskeletal symptoms may be a small annoyance, or may be limiting your quality of life and activity participation. The evidence shows: the earlier you access a PT for your condition the better – saving time and healthcare dollars. Consider a call to a Physical Therapist today!


  • Stevans J, Fitzgerald GK, Pica S, Schneider M. Association of Early Outpatient Rehabilitation With Health Science Utilization in Managing Medicare Beneficiaries With Nontraumatic Knee Pain: Retrospective Cohort Study. Physical Therapy. 2017; 97: 615-623
  • Horn ME, Brennan GP, George SZ, Harman JS, Bishop ME. A Value Proposition for early physical therapist management of neck pain: a restrospective cohort analysis. BioMed Central. 2016 16:253.
  • Childs JD, Willams JL, et al.. A Description in Physical Therapists managing musculoskeletal conditions. BMC Musculoskeletal Conditions 2005: 6:32