What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function. Physical therapists are health care professionals who help individuals maintain, restore, and improve movement, activity, and functioning, thereby enabling optimal performance and enhancing health, well-being, and quality of life. Their services prevent, minimize, or eliminate impairments of body functions and structures, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Physical therapy is provided for individuals of all ages who have or may develop impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions related to (1) conditions of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and/or integumentary systems or (2) the negative effects attributable to unique personal and environmental factors as they relate to human performance. (American Physical Therapy Association, 2017).
What is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists (PTs) are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects. Physical therapists play vital roles in today’s health care environment and are recognized as essential providers of rehabilitation and habilitation, performance enhancement, and prevention and risk-reduction services. Physical therapists also play important roles both in developing standards for physical therapist practice and in developing health care policy to ensure availability, accessibility, and optimal provision of physical therapy. Physical therapists are also well-qualified to recognize when patients demonstrate conditions that should be evaluated by other healthcare professionals. We will suggest a referral to other health care professionals if necessary. In addition, with your permission, we will send our results to your physician and will work in conjunction with him/her. (American Physical Therapy Association, 2017).
Understanding Direct Access
Colorado is a “DIRECT ACCESS” state. This means that legislation in Colorado was passed allowing licensed physical therapists to evaluate and treat patients without first seeing a physician. Likewise as a “Direct Access” patient you do not need a prescription from your physician to receive out-patient physical therapy. However, many insurance plans do require you to have a prescription from your physician in order for outpatient physical therapy services to be covered and paid for by the insurance carrier.
As a “DIRECT ACCESS” provider physical therapists can truly provide direct access for diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations and disabilities related to movement functionality. Physical therapists are experts in proficiently evaluating a patient’s musculoskeletal condition; and if appropriate, safely and effectively treating the patient.