If you’ve recently been injured, you may wonder who you should see for treatment – a primary care physician, an orthopedic specialist, a physical therapist or maybe even a chiropractor. There are many options available to you, but seeing a physical therapist (PT) first may help you recover faster.

Many people believe they can’t see a PT without a referral from a physician. This simply isn’t true. In Wisconsin, you can see a PT first, and in most cases your insurer will pay.

Here are four reasons you should consider seeing a PT first:

1. Seeing a PT is the fastest way to treat the root cause of your issue, rather than masking it and waiting for the problem to go away.
2. In patients with low back pain, seeing a PT first reduces the likelihood of needing advanced imaging, injections, strong medications or other more invasive procedures, such as surgery.
3. Physical therapists treat patients using a variety of approaches, including exercise, manual therapy and providing patient education and advice. PTs provide other forms of interventions to treat the problem on a broader scale and to meet the needs of the patient. We also collaborate with other providers, which gives us additional insight and perspective.
4. Physical therapy is often less expensive than other types of treatment. PTs are less likely to recommend advanced testing, medications or other types of treatment that ramp up costs. We’re more focused on evaluating your condition, treating it and providing you with the tools to manage it long term and prevent it from recurring.
If you’re ready to see a PT, get recommendations from family and friends or check out a website like VisitYourPT.com and using the Find a Physical Therapist feature. This will allow you access to several PTs located near you.

James Cumming, PT, OCS (Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist)




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