PT myths

Common Physical Therapy Myths

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by Tasha Parman, PT, Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist

Have you or a loved one ever been to physical therapy? Have you heard of physical therapy? There are many myths about physical therapy in the public domain, and Natasha Parman, Executive Director of MOSAIC Physical Therapy, is here to address some of the most common myths she hears from her clients.

Tasha and Laura treating

  • “I need a referral to go to physical therapy.” In Washington state, you do not need a referral to be evaluated by a physical therapist. Some insurance companies do require a referral for payment, however, so it is recommended that you check with your insurance company beforehand.
  • “Physical therapy is painful.” As physical therapists, our goal is to help discover why you’re in pain and then provide treatment to reduce it. We sometimes have to provoke your symptoms to determine our plan of care, but we always do our best to work within your pain tolerance.
  • “Physical therapy is only for people who have had surgery.” Physical therapy is for anyone who isn’t moving as well as desired due to surgery, injury, illness, disease, or any other cause. Physical therapy is for people of all ages and all functional abilities.
  • “Physical therapy isn’t covered by my insurance.” Most insurance companies cover some amount of physical therapy. Your physical therapist’s office can help verify your benefits to determine your coverage and work within your allowed benefits.
  • “Any medical provider or trainer can provide physical therapy treatments to a client.” While some providers may advertise that they provide physical therapy (or physical rehabilitation, rehab therapy, etc), only licensed physical therapists or physical therapist assistants can provide and bill for physical therapy services.
  • “Surgery is my only option.” For many conditions, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as or more effective than surgery. If your physical therapist thinks you are a candidate for surgery, then he or she will discuss that with you and the other members of your healthcare team.

If you have any questions about physical therapy, feel free to contact MOSAIC Physical Therapy at 425-673-5220. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.


Physical Therapy Myth #7: I can do physical therapy myself.

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Physical therapy myth #7: I can do physical therapy myself

Really?– how well does that work out for you?
I had a patient tell a friend: “Dude, you can’t rehab your (surgical) ankle fracture from stuff off of YouTube. Go to MOSAIC”.

diy pt 1 (sample of what you may find if you search for “do it yourself PT”)

Physical Therapy is not just about “exercise”- there is a huge clinical decision and diagnostic piece, that the lay person would be missing if they did it on their own. Make sure if you have movement issues, see a skilled physical therapist- to not only address the present condition, but the reason for it.

Fact: Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your therapist will leverage his or her specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.

Physical Therapy Myth #5: Physical Therapy Isn’t Covered By Insurance

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Adam w.Laura in headlock manualtherapy for headache
Adam w. Laura in a headlock/manual therapy for headache





Myth #5: Physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance


Fact: Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy. Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic.

My team and I are in-network with most providers including Tricare and Medicare- and even if we are not not – most insurance offer out-of network benefits that are still reasonable.

#physicaltherapy is cheaper than most medical services- and we are more fun!

Physical Therapy Myth #4: Any Health Care Professional Can Perform Physical Therapy

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Sally doing manual therapy on the manual therapistMyth #4: Any health care professional can perform physical therapy.

This one gets my blood boiling!

NO!!! Your MD, ND, NP, Chiropractor, personal trainer, or coach are all GREAT at what they do. BUT they do not perform physical therapy. In fact, it is illegal in the state of Washington for any other practitioner to practice or advertise that they practice physical therapy.

Fact: Although 42% of consumers know that physical therapy can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist, 37% still believe other health care professionals can also administer physical therapy. Many physical therapists also pursue board certification in specific areas such as neurology, orthopedics, sports, or women’s health, for example.

Picture of me performing my near career-ending (his, not mine ) cervical manipulation on Dr. E from The Manual 🙂

Physical Therapy Myth # 3: Physical Therapy is Only for Injuries and Accidents

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keep-calm-and-call-a-physical-therapist     Myth # 3: Physical therapy is only for injuries and accidents.

Fact: Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. They are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—

Physical Therapist are MOVEMENT specialists. If there is something preventing you from moving well, pain, headache, scar tissue, swelling, poor balance or coordination, etc., we can help!

Physical Therapy Myth #2: Physical Therapy is Painful

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bug zapper painContinuing with the 7 Myths of Physical Therapy……………

Unlike touching your tongue to our new 2400 Volt Bug Zapper…

Myth #2: Physical therapy is painful.

Fact: Physical therapists seek to minimize your pain and discomfort—including chronic or long-term pain. They work within your pain threshold to help you heal, and restore movement and function. The survey found that although 71% of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful, that number significantly decreases among patients who have seen a physical therapist in the past year.

This echos my message from yesterday. From what we know about #painscience and #neuroscience, the days of ‘no pain, no gain’ are over. If a patient is coming to physical therapy for pain relief, their nervous system is already perceiving an attack. WHY then would a health professional attack it further?



7 Myths of Physical Therapy: Here is #1

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Tangled web

Ah- the tangled web we weave… Ever feel that way about trying to navigate Physical Therapy?

October Is National PT Month and the 7-Myths about Physical Therapy has just been released by the #APTA (you can check it out at I’ll share them with you, each with its own blog post- and give you my take.

1. Myth: I need a referral to see a physical therapist.


Fact: A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed 70% of people think a referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist. However, all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) allow patients to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a physician’s prior referral.

In the state of Washington- we have direct referral. Meaning that if you wake up with back pain- you can call MOSAIC and we will get you in that day! No waiting for your MD. In fact, what are you waiting for? You have probably met your insurance deductible this year. Make sure to reap all your benefits!