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Can a physical therapist diagnose my injuries?

When you’ve been injured, your mind probably jumps to many conclusions. Perhaps you look up your symptoms and find a ton of different possible explanations that don’t provide any answers. But that’s why it’s important to consult with a health care professional.

Physical therapists and physicians are two types of health care professionals who help you be the healthiest version of yourself. When it comes to being injured, many people think that a physician is the only person who can provide you with answers. A physician can provide a formal diagnosis. But a physical therapist can figure out the potential cause and design a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate the symptoms.

We’ll talk about how a physical therapist works with your physician’s diagnosis and the goals of a physical therapist. We’ll also discuss how they can help your injuries.

How a physical therapist works with your physician’s diagnosis

When it comes to injuries, physical therapists’ and physicians’ care often go hand in hand. If you’ve sustained an injury, there are two courses of action that you can take. Some people prefer to go straight to their physician. But others want to see how a physical therapist can help their symptoms before receiving a diagnosis. 

The first option is going directly to a physician for a formal diagnosis of your injury. Then they can refer you to a physical therapist who can help alleviate the symptoms and move you along the recovery process. A physical therapist is often confirming or working with a physician’s diagnosis.

Some people prefer to focus on how the physical therapists can help alleviate their pain and restore their mobility. During the initial evaluation, a physical therapist can use their knowledge to determine the likely injury and design a personalized treatment plan tailored to your symptoms. But you may still want to consult with a physician for a formal diagnosis. 

The goals of a physical therapist for your injury

After you’ve received a diagnosis for your injury from a physician, a physical therapist can help you move along the recovery process so that you can return to your everyday activities. They help you with your immediate symptoms as well as improve the overall quality of the affected area.

A physical therapist can help your injury by:

  • Managing and reducing your pain. 
  • Increasing the strength and flexibility of the affected muscles.
  • Restoring mobility and range of motion.
  • Improving the function of the affected area.
  • Reducing the reliance on pain medication.

Common physical therapy treatments that may be used to help your physician’s diagnosis

When it comes to treating injuries, it’s important that the techniques that your physical therapist uses are safe for your physician’s diagnosis. For example, a broken bone can’t undergo the same treatments as a muscle strain because the severity of the symptoms are different. That’s why a personalized treatment plan is essential.

Here are common physical therapy treatments used to help your diagnosed injury. They are tailored to your particular cause:

  • Therapeutic exercises — By guiding you through therapeutic exercises, your physical therapist can help you alleviate the pain stemming from your injury. They can also help restore your strength, flexibility and mobility. They can walk you through stretches and strengthening exercises that are safe and effective for your diagnosed injury.
  • Manual therapy — There are different techniques that involve the physical therapist using their hands. The goal is to mobilize the affected soft tissue and joints to release tension. Common manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization, can help reduce pain and increase range of motion in the injured area.
  • Electrical stimulation — A common pain management modality used for injuries in a physical therapy clinic is electrical stimulation, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS sends electrical currents to the affected area to increase circulation and stimulate the nerves to speed up the recovery process.

Back in Motion Physical Therapy can help you after an injury is diagnosed

Whether you’ve already received a formal diagnosis for your injury from a physician, or you want to see how a physical therapist can help beforehand, we’re here to help. At Back in Motion, we want to move you along your injury rehabilitation and recovery process so that you can return to your regular routines with reduced pain and restored mobility.

Contact one of our front desk coordinators today to set up your initial PT appointment.

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