APTA Responds to Prevention.com Article on Pain Management

November 18, 2011

Dear Editor:

In the November 17, 2011, article, "10 Pros With Surprising Pain Solutions," author Joy Manning states, "These pain experts [physical therapists] typically step in to help you heal from an injury after your MD's work is done… ."

While it is true that physical therapists play important roles in injury rehabilitation and work collaboratively with other health care providers, many patients across the US now go directly to their physical therapist for chronic pain management, for instance with lumbar degenerative disc disease or fibromyalgia. Through exercise and hands-on interventions, such as spinal manipulation, physical therapists are able to get people better, faster. Moreover, physical therapists can design personalized treatment programs that focus on strength, flexibility, and coordination to prevent loss of mobility from pain.

In 46 states and the District of Columbia patients have some form of "direct access" to physical therapists, even though there may be restrictions imposed in some instances if patients have not been referred by a physician.

It is important for readers to know that physical therapist intervention can be an effective, affordable, conservative method of pain management.


R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD
American Physical Therapy Association

CSM 2016