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By Abby Halpin DPT, ACSM

Get physical therapy first! #GetPT1st is a movement to promote the utilization of physical therapists as your first stop for dealing with injuries or chronic pain. Research has shown that going to your physical therapist first can save you time and money as well as allow you to get the best care first.

#GetPT1st has used the findings from recent research to get the word out with examples like the following:



Direct access allows many to see their physical therapist first for aches and pains. Physical therapists are trained to screen for other issues that may require a visit to your primary care physician or to immediately start the rehabilitation procgetess and get people back to what they do best, movement.

The traditional, physician-centered route of care starts with an initial visit to your primary care physician (PCP), then moves on to recommended diagnostic testing, follow-up visits, referrals to specialists, medication prescriptions, and then finally to a physical therapist.  These visits and tests, as well as the increased use of pain medications, are added costs to the consumer in both time, money, side effects, and more. It also delays the start of rehabilitation, ultimately hindering care. This is something to be aware of when “if you hurt your back, starting PT within the first 14 days can save you (on average) $2700.”

Physical therapists are especially good at finding the cause of the problem rather than treating your symptoms. “Did you know your MRI can be misleading? …If you MRI says something scary, don’t be afraid – call a physical therapist.”


By addressing the driving issue without inflicting fear of movement, physical therapists are more likely to create change that will prevent future injuries. This can increase a person’s ability to stay independently mobile longer into aging, allow a young athlete to return to sport to improve his or her fitness for life, or allow someone to return to full-time work increasing productivity and earning-power for the rest of his or her life.

For more information on why to choose a physical therapist first, visit or find them on Facebook and Twitter at @GetPT1st.

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