Nancy Whelan, PT
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Pain Management Without Surgery
Did you know surgery is no more effective than physical therapy and medical management for osteoarthritis of the knee? (The New England Journal of Medicine found this to be the case in a report published in Sept. 2008)
When it comes to relieving the pain and stiffness of moderate to severe osteoarthritis of the knee, research shows that physical therapy combined with comprehensive medical management is just as effective as surgery. Learning the right set of exercises designed by a physical therapist can be one of the best protections from injury and surgery.
When seeking physical therapy services, it's important to know that you have the right to choose your physical therapist.
In most states you can make an appointment with a physical therapist directly, without a physician's referral. In Florida, a prescription for Physical Therapy is required for treatment.
Although a physician or other health care professional may suggest a certain facility or physical therapist based on experience or geographical location, the decision as to where you seek treatment is yours.
Some physicians employ physical therapists or own physical therapy clinics, which means they have a financial incentive to refer patients to their employees or clinic. This conflict of interest can lead to excessive visits and services. Even if you are in a state that requires a physician referral, you can still choose a facility other than the one your physician recommends.
In all states and facilities, physical therapy services should only be provided by a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist . You may wish to check with your insurance company to verify that the physical therapist whom you have chosen participates in your network.
Contributed by Nancy Whelan, PT, the West Palm Beach Physical Therapy Center