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Summit Medical Group of Oak Ridge

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy (also called Physiotherapy) is therapy for the preservation, enhancement or restoration of movement and physical function impaired or threatened by disease, injury, or disability. Physical therapists use a variety of treatment options that can include hands on, manual treatment such as soft tissue massage or joint mobilizations; therapeutic exercise, physical modalities, such as ultrasound, electrotherapy, ice/heat; assistive devices, and patient education and training.

What education does a Physical Therapist have?

The physical therapy degree has evolved significantly over the last several decades.  The profession began as a bachelor’s degree.  Over time, the educational requirements to become a physical therapist grew, progressing the degree to a master’s level.  Over the last 20 years, research in the arena of diagnosis and treatment techniques has made significant advances. As evidence-based research grew, educational requirements increased as well.  The profession of physical therapy has now grown to a doctorate level degree. 

A typical duration of study for an aspiring physical therapist to acquire a doctorate in physical therapy is about 7 years.  A student will complete 4 years of undergraduate study and 3 years of post-graduate study.  During this time, the student will also complete several clinical internships in various settings.  Once the student has completed all course and clinical work, the student must pass a state boards exam to obtain a license to practice.

Why should I try Physical Therapy?

Most people will come to physical therapy to alleviate pain so that they can continue, or return, to the things in life that they enjoy…. tennis, golf, walking, running, gardening, etc. Physical therapy is the most conservative option you can pursue for pain reduction.  It’s non-invasive and results can be seen very quickly.  It’s possible to see reduction in your pain level as soon as the first visit.  If your condition is going to respond positively to physical therapy treatment, it typically will not take months upon months.  You can expect results within 1-2 weeks.  Before succumbing to the management of your pain with medications and their side effects, electing to have a surgery that could have possibly been avoided, or just throwing in the towel on the things you enjoy doing, make an appointment to see a physical therapist and see if treatment is a good option for you.

Pain is not the only reason to see a physical therapist.  Other conditions that can benefit from physical therapy include gait and balance problems, fall prevention, vertigo, and headaches to name a few.

How do I make an appointment to see a physical therapist?

All you need to do is call our Summit physical therapy scheduling team at 865-470-2696 and they will walk you through the process to get you scheduled to see one of our therapists.  We have 8 locations in the East Tennessee area to meet the geographical needs of the patients we serve.  Most insurances no longer require referrals from your doctor.  So, you as the patient now have quick and direct access to schedule your initial physical therapy visit at your discretion.

If you feel more comfortable seeing your doctor first, that’s understandable.  Your doctor can also help you determine if physical therapy is a good option for your condition.  Feel free to ask them for a referral to physical therapy.