Things You Didn’t Know About Physical Therapy

Whether you are new to physical therapy or have been attending sessions for some time, there is probably a lot you don’t know about this broad-based field. Here are just a few things you probably didn’t know about physical therapy.


Physical therapists have a wide range of focuses. You can find physical therapists specializing in cardiopulmonary rehab, wound care, post-operative care, and even acute care. They work in hospitals, emergency rooms, nursing homes, schools, and home health, as well as outpatient clinics and private practices.

Doctoral Degrees

Although at one time, physical therapists needed only a bachelor’s degree, today’s physical therapists hold doctoral degrees. They must also pass a medical board exam to become licensed. They are not doctors, but physical therapists are highly educated medical professionals with a deep understanding of anatomy and kinesthetics (the science of movement).

Direct Access

Despite popular myths, all 50 states allow Direct Access to physical therapy. This means that you can visit a physical therapist without a referral from your doctor. However, state and local governments, as well health insurance companies, may place restrictions on your care. When making an appointment for physical therapy, always ask what restrictions you might face.


Physical therapy is a collaborative partnership between the therapist and the patient. The harder you work in sessions, and the more closely you follow instructions for your home exercise plan, the more successful your treatment will be.

Communication is a vital component in this partnership. You must tell your physical therapist if an exercise is too easy, too hard, or too painful. Physical therapy is designed to unlock joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that may have been tense for a very long time. On a scale of 10, you should feel a pain level of approximately 6 during each exercise, which should diminish rapidly when you stop the exercise. Easier exercises will not push your healing forward, while harder exercises could lead to reinjury. Always let your physical therapist know how you are feeling.

Likewise, physical therapy massage is not spa massage. Expect some discomfort during your massage, though you should feel significantly better when it is over.

Physical therapy is a broad field that incorporates healing and pain relief from a wide variety of injuries and illnesses. Yet there is a lot you probably don’t know. Most physical therapists are happy to chat during your sessions, so feel free to ask as many questions as you like.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are seeking a customized, innovative approach to physical therapy in Matawan, NJ, please contact Matawan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your initial assessment.