How to Select a Physical Therapist

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Physical therapy may be part of your treatment plan if you have back or neck pain. Many times, your primary care doctor will refer you to a qualified physical therapist, but most states now allow direct access to a physical therapist without a physician referral.

Physical TherapyTherefore, if you do have to choose a physical therapist, there are some important things to consider that will help you make the best healthcare decision. Here are some questions to think about:

  • What is the physical therapist's education and training background? Therapists can take additional training in spine-specific approaches or manual therapy programs, such as Certified McKenzie Therapists. They may have a more comprehensive approach to your care.
  • Does the physical therapist have a solid understanding of your specific condition? (To learn more about whether your condition is commonly treated by physical therapy, read our article about what disorders physical therapists treat.)
  • Is the physical therapist in your insurance network?

Additionally, you should feel comfortable asking your potential physical therapist some introductory questions about what treatments you might expect. Some good examples are:

  • What exercises or techniques best treat my condition?
  • What amount of pain relief should I expect?
  • How many sessions will I need?

Your physical therapist will not only help teach you ways to treat your condition, but he or she will also help you understand your condition. So always ask questions. If you need a place to start, read our article about questions to ask your physical therapist. The more questions you ask, the more secure you will be in selecting the best physical therapist for you. You'll also have a greater understanding of how physical therapy will help relieve your back or neck pain.

Updated on: 03/21/16
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What Disorders Do Physical Therapists Treat?
Graeme Keys, PT, Dip MDT
This article was reviewed by Graeme Keys PT, Dip MDT, COMT
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What Disorders Do Physical Therapists Treat?

Physical therapy is often an integral part of the non-surgical and postoperative care of patients with spinal disorders. Includes a list of spine conditions commonly treated with physical therapy
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