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Is Direct Access to a Physical Therapist Faster than a Physician Referral?

Posted by Renew Physical Therapy Portland on Thursday, October 10, 2019

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At Renew Physical Therapy, we are collaborators and there are cases when we contact your doctor to get the full picture. As collaborators, we also know that no two recoveries are the same. We are frequently involved in a multidisciplinary approach with several pain management clinics in Portland who concurrently use other forms of conservative interventions such as oral medication, injection procedures of medication or prolotherapy, stimulator devices, acupuncture, etc.  And of course, if your condition is beyond what we can treat, we’ll immediately refer you to the appropriate physician or specialist. This post is to help you identify timesaving (and cost-saving) advantages to seeing a physical therapist first.

Am I Allowed to See A Physical Therapist First?

Yes. It is called direct access to Physical Therapy and all 50 states have some form of it. Direct access refers to the ability of patients to seek attention from a medical specialist like a physical therapist without needing a referral from their primary care physician. Physical Therapists are doctors and have the formal education and clinical training to diagnose, treat, and manage dysfunctions of movement and to enhance the functional abilities of individuals of all ages.

Save Time with Diagnoses

A 2017 Merritt Hawkins study showed that the average wait time to see a physician is 24 days, up 30% from 2014. Direct access to physical therapy means patients get better more quickly, so the sooner you see your physical therapist, the more time you save on recovery.

Save Time with Recovery

Patients who are diagnosed immediately after experiencing the first symptoms of pain have greater success at recovery.  A Physical Therapist can also recommend non-surgical treatment. Sometimes the appeal of surgery is that it is faster, but in multiple studies, this is not the case. Take a grade III strain, which is a full tear of a ligament. Research shows that patients who choose physical therapy over surgery can return to work 2-4 times faster. Better yet, those who choose physical therapy also had less risk of re-injury. Often the appeal of surgery is a quick fix, but there are no studies to support faster recovery with surgery as opposed to other treatment methods.

How Do I Pick a Physical Therapist in the Portland Area?

As Renew Physical Therapy continues to grow, we have retained our personal approach to our patients. We believe it is because we are unique. Our multiple 5-star Physical Therapy Reviews reinforce the idea that our approach is creating great results. We adhere to a strict “no-pain” rule throughout treatment to ensure steady progress toward a full recovery. No two patients are the same, therefore, each patient is evaluated and treated individually with no cookie-cutter or assembly-line approach.

We are proud that our patients continue to give us 5-star reviews. You can click to read all our physical therapy testimonials.

Visit our About Renew PT  page to learn more about our practice, clinic, and staff. Call us at 503.928.4914 to schedule an appointment.

Renew Physical Therapy Is Located in Southeast Portland

Renew Physical Therapy is an independent manual physical therapy clinic that was established in December 2015 by Michael and Heidi Cantwell. Our facility features three private treatment rooms and an open gym area to treat all our patients’ needs, including Auto and Work injuries. You can find us at 11010 SE Division Street in Portland, Oregon.

Visit our About Us page to learn more about our practice, clinic, and staff. Call us at 503.928.4914 to schedule an appointment.

Renew Your Body, Reclaim Your Life!


Categories: Direct Access, Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Referrals