Direct Access Myths That Prevent You From Getting The Best Care Possible

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direct access myths

Direct Access Myths That Prevent You From Getting The Best Care Possible

Direct access myths prevent you from getting the best care possible. Have you heard of direct access? Understanding what it is can make a difference in the level of care that you receive for your health. Knowing the myths and truths surrounding direct access can change and enhance the care you receive.

Basically stated, direct access gives you access to a physical therapist of your choice, without having to obtain a prescription from a referring physician. There are many benefits of direct access.

These include:

  • Gives you a chance to develop a collaborative healthcare team that works for you
  • Save time and money by not having to go elsewhere for unnecessary referrals
  • Allows you to have better access to the care that you need

[Related article: Direct Access Physical Therapy In Arizona]

Direct Access Myths and Truths

While there are several benefits, there are also several direct access myths. Here are a few of those along with the associated truths.

Myth: Insurance won’t cover you without a referral.

The truth is that as is the case with any type of coverage, it is important to verify benefits in advance of your appointment. It is common for insurance companies to cover your visit to a physical therapist, even without a referral.

Myth: My doctor will not like for me to see someone without a referral.

The truth is that your physical therapist is willing to work collaboratively with other members of the healthcare community to help provide you with the best care. Each medical professional has their own area of expertise. 

A physical therapist is one of the best to help treat conditions associated with the musculoskeletal system. He or she will work with your doctor to ensure you are receiving the best care possible for your condition.

Myth: I have to go to where my doctor refers me. 

The truth is that with direct access you are able to make the decision on who the best physical therapist is for you. While your doctor can provide insight into your choices, you should still feel free to make your own well-informed decisions about where you receive your physical therapy.

Learning these direct access myths can be empowering, once you know the truths associated with them. It can empower your healthcare making decisions.

You have choices and the team at Contact Physical Therapy would love to help you the next time you or someone you love is in need of physical therapy.
Call us at 480.396.2781 or connect with us online here.
IT band syndrome

IT Band Syndrome Symptoms and Treatment

If you are a runner, you may already be familiar with what IT band syndrome is. The iliotibial (IT) band, runs alongside the knee. You are most at risk of developing IT band syndrome if you are engaged in activities that require your knee to bend over and over again. Some examples of this are climbing, cycling, and swimming. It is also a common running injury.

However, you don’t have to be a runner to experience this injury. If you have just started exercising, you may experience this too.

When subjected to overuse, the IT band gets tight and is more likely to rub along the knee. This is when you will feel pain and may experience swelling from the condition

If left untreated, this condition can get worse. You may need to take a break from the activity or sport that is causing you pain, and visit a physical therapist for a course of action to help you recover.

IT Band Syndrome Symptoms

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is possible that you may have IT band syndrome. Symptoms include: 

  • pain on the outside of your knee when practicing your favorite sport and also afterwards
  • a feeling of clicking alongside the knee where the IT band is
  • your knee feels sensitive when you touch it
  • glutes feel tender
  • outer knee is red and/or warm
  • ache or burn that goes from the knee up to the thigh and/or hip

This condition can affect one or both knees.

How Runners Can Prevent IT Band Syndrome

If you are a runner, be aware of the terrain you are running on as this could have an impact on developing this condition. Uneven terrain and/or running downhill both make you more at risk for developing this. Also if you run in shoes that need to be replaced, it can make you more likely to get this.

IT Band Syndrome Treatment

If you are suffering from this, see a physical therapist. Physical therapy efforts will focus on reducing your pain and preventing further injury. Your physical therapist may start with recommending rest from the activity, ice, massage, stretching, and other physical therapy treatments that will help the IT band heal.

A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy will show you the proper way to do exercises to help you heal and prevent further injury to your IT band. With proper treatment this condition will improve and you can get back to enjoying your favorite activities.

To begin reducing the symptoms of your IT band syndrome and get back to enjoying the activities that you love, contact us today.

physical therapy after a car accident

3 Reasons To Consider Physical Therapy After A Car Accident

Did you know that physical therapy after a car accident can help you in many ways? The pain that you can be left with after a car accident can be long-lasting, especially if your body doesn’t have the chance to heal properly after the accident.

Injuries from car accidents are not always apparent right away. Some of them are such as whiplash, neck or back pain may be noticeable. However, others like chronic headaches or head trauma can stay with you for a long time. 

[Related article: Physical Therapy For Concussion Recovery]

The good news is that a physical therapist can aid in your recovery after you have been injured. Here are three reasons to visit your physical therapist after a car accident.

3 Reasons To Consider Physical Therapy After A Car Accident

Reduced Pain

A physical therapist is a trained expert when it comes to neck pain, back pain and more. Their modalities include manual therapy, and can help alleviate the pain from common car accident injuries.

Safer Healing

Car accident pain can lead to chronic pain. It can also lead to the use of painkillers and put you in a position to suffer for years. Your physical therapist can show you ways of managing the pain without the use of drugs that might otherwise become addicting. It is a safer way to heal.

Regain Function

Physical therapy focuses on increasing range of motion, rebuilding strength, and allowing you to function and be mobile again like you once were. If your physical abilities have been compromised due to the car accident, physical therapy can help you gain those back.

Physical therapy after a car accident can be an effective way to treat many injuries and the pain that comes along with what happened. Reach out to the physical therapists at Contact Physical Therapy to get on the road to healing from car accident injuries.

To get started, contact us today.

sciatica pain

Sciatica Pain and What To Do About It

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back to the buttocks down to the leg. Sciatica is pain that you feel along this area when something isn’t functioning properly. This could be compression of the nerve and/or the sciatic nerve being irritated.

Sciatica is not a diagnosis, but it is a description of the pain. If you have had it, you will recognize it immediately. It can be unbearable at times. The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, you may be able to see relief from sciatica pain.

Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

A physical therapist may work with you in several different ways to help you overcome your sciatica pain. This could be through exercising, stretches, strengthening, and more.


Exercises such as low impact aerobics might be a good way to help overcome your sciatica pain. Also pool therapy may help.


One huge way to overcome your sciatica pain is through stretching. There are specific stretches that your physical therapist can recommend to help you relieve your pain. Stretching may focus on the hamstrings.


Completing strengthening exercises for the supporting structures of your body (the spine, muscles, ligaments, and tendons supporting the back) can help to provide pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will recommend strengthening exercises to help you overcome your pain.

[Related article: Elements For Physical Therapy Success]

More Ways To Relieve Sciatica Pain

What are some other things you can do to help relieve your sciatica pain? Although you may be tempted to rest when you are experiencing this pain, physical therapists recommend not resting for more than a day or two because it could add to your pain. Instead, after a brief period of rest, keep moving to aid your body in healing.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat sciatica pain. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To get started, contact us today.

balance problems

How Physical Therapy Can Help Balance Problems

If you or someone you love is experiencing balance problems, did you know that physical therapy may be able to help? If you are finding it difficult to perform simple tasks such as standing, walking, or sitting, if you find yourself swaying or have difficulty staying stable or upright, you may be experiencing balance problems.

If you are over the age of 70, your chances can be as high as 75% of having balance that isn’t normal. This can be caused by aging, among other things, including problems with the muscles, joints, or inner ear. Sometimes medications can cause the problem, or if you are not active enough, it can be a factor as well.

Medical conditions may also cause balance problems. From diabetes and arthritis, to multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease — all of these can cause issues with your balance.

Symptoms of Balance Problems

If you are wondering if your problems might be related to balance, here is what to look for: falling, stumbling, dizziness, tripping, and swaying are all indications that you may have a balance problem.

The good news is that by working with a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy, your balance problems may improve. A physical therapist can work with you to help you improve your balance and reduce your risk of falling. This is so important, especially as we age because falling carries the risk of injuring yourself as well.

[Related article: Goals of Physical Therapy]

Your physical therapist can help you improve strength, mobility, flexibility and posture. All of these things will help you to overcome any issues you may be experiencing with your balance.

The best way to deal with balance problems is to do everything you can to prevent them from happening in the first place. Physical therapists recommend staying active and mobile and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle to prevent balance issues. If you have fallen, be sure to talk to your doctor or physical therapist so that he or she can begin to assess your condition and help to determine what caused the fall and prevent it from happening again, thus preventing further injury.

Since some balance problems can be caused by eye and ear conditions, have your vision and hearing checked regularly to help prevent balance problems as well.

Physical therapy can be effective in helping to treat balance problems. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To learn more, contact us today.

Osgood-Schlatter disease

Osgood-Schlatter Disease Causes and Treatment

Osgood-Schlatter Disease is a condition that is characterized by painful inflammation in the area under the knee and can develop in children and teenagers during a growth spurt. Below is what you need to know about Osgood-Schlatter disease causes and treatment if your child is experiencing pain and how physical therapy can help.

Causes of Osgood-Schlatter Disease

At the adolescent period when growth is at a peak in adolescents, the rate of growth of some of their tendons and muscles differ in the sense that they do not grow at the same rate.

When exposed to physical activity, the varying sizes of the quadriceps muscle puts pressure on the growth plate close to the shinbone. As a result of the pressure, the growth plate becomes vulnerable to irritation. The irritation causes a painful swelling below the kneecap which is the start of the Osgood-Schlatter disease.

[Related article: The Truth About Growing Pains]

Treatment of the Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Osgood-Schlatter disease normally ends on its own after the end of a growth spurt. By that time, however, the focus is put on easing the pain and inflammation. It is important to know that self-diagnosis is not recommended and so it is important to consult your healthcare practitioner.

Treatment of Osgood Schlatter disease might also include:

  1. Taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  2. Reducing intense physical activity so as to relive the knee of pressure
  3. Icing the affected area after physical activity
  4. Stretching
  5. Wearing a knee brace
  6. Physical therapy

Restricting intense physical activity is highly advised so as to reduce the inflammation and give the affected area time to recover. Patients can, however, participate in less demanding exercises such as swimming or cycling during their recovery process.

The exercises to participate in will however depend on the practitioner’s advice depending on the extent of the affected area. In some cases, some children are advised to completely quit certain sports until they are fully recovered.

[Related article: Physical Therapy For Babies and Kids]

Physical therapy can be effecting in helping to treat Osgood-Schlatter disease. A physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for your child.

To get started, contact us today.

physical therapy success

Elements For Physical Therapy Success

While your physical therapy program may begin in our office, your physical therapy success ends at home. There are many things that will help you find the results you are looking for from physical therapy. While sessions in our clinic are an important part of that, what you do afterwards is just as important, if not more important to your success.

Your physical therapist will partner with you to help you achieve the results you are looking for. He or she will tailor a treatment plan that may include a combination of education, ergonomics, and exercise to help you succeed. Success is based on an achievement of the physical therapy goals you set for yourself and a return to the quality of life that you experienced prior to your injury or onset of the pain.

Elements For Physical Therapy Success At Home

The information and materials that your physical therapist will provide you, along with ergonomic support at home or at work, plus a home exercise program will all work together to help you succeed. Together with your physical therapist, implementing each one of these things will lend itself to your physical therapy success.

Patient Education

A physical therapist understands how the body moves and how those movements may be impacting your condition, symptoms, or pain. He/she will help you understand this. They are your partner to help you feel better. The information that your physical therapist gives you will help equip you for healing.

Whether this information comes in the form of conversation in the clinic or handouts to take home, make notes of the important points to remember. This information gives you a better understanding of the “why” behind the “what”. When you understand why your physical therapist is outlining the program for you that they are, it will help you to take action on those recommendations.


Ergonomics refers to how well an environment, usually a workspace, fits you and lends itself to efficiency, productivity, and reduces stress on your body as you complete your work or tasks. Your environment should fit you, not the other way around. When we conform our bodies to fit into an environment (think work environment, such as a desk) it can cause pain and injury, and additional stress on our bodies.

With proper ergonomics, your body should remain in a neutral position. For example, at a work desk this means that your chin is parallel to the floor, your feet are flat on the floor, with elbows bent at a 90 degree angle. You should also have proper back support. Proper ergonomics will reduce stress on the body, prevent injury, and will also help you maintain the results of your physical therapy program.

Home Exercise Program

Your home exercise program is just as important as your physical therapy sessions in our clinic. A home exercise program will help you obtain the best results. The goal of physical therapy, as well as your home exercise program, is to return you to the quality of life you once enjoyed as much as possible. As you progress, your home exercise program may need updated so continue to check-in with your therapist as needed.

Physical therapy success is achieved through a combination of things. Your physical therapist will partner with you to provide education about the “why” and “what” of your condition. Proper ergonomic equipment, tools, and resources will help to maintain the results you have worked so hard to achieve. A home exercise program will keep you on the right track.

Whether it is due to injury, pain, or another condition, a physical therapist at Contact Physical Therapy can help tailor a program that is right for you.

To get started, contact us today.

physical therapy for total knee replacements

Physical Therapy For Total Knee Replacements

After surgery, it is recommended that you have physical therapy for total knee replacements (TKR). Physical therapy will start soon after TKR.

The most common reason for a total knee replacement is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition in which the cartilage in your joints deteriorates. Often, this happens in the knee. When it does you may notice pain, stiffness, and swelling. Rheumatoid arthritis and/or being overweight may also contribute to the need for a total knee replacement.

How do you know when a total knee replacement is needed? A doctor can evaluate and diagnose your condition, but here are some telltale signs:

  • trouble standing up from a seated position
  • pain in your knee or knees, even when resting
  • trouble with walking
  • difficulty going up and down stairs

What can I expect during physical therapy for total knee replacements?

Physical therapy is important to your recovery from TKR. It will focus on strengthening the muscles in your leg. It will also help you get used to the new knee by teaching it to move and helping you learn to walk on it. Physical therapy will also walk you through climbing stairs again.

Your physical therapist will have you complete exercises to increase range of motion, strengthen the muscles in your leg, and keep the blood flowing throughout your body. Exercises might include quadriceps sets, straight leg raises, ankle pumps, and knee straightening exercises, supported knee bends and unsupported knee bends.

Physical therapy will also focus on soft tissue treatments to prevent issues with being able to fully extend the knee and help minimize scar tissue.

If your condition is caught early enough, physical therapy can help prevent or delay the need for surgery. However, after surgery physical therapy is an important part of your recovery and healing from a total knee replacement.

Our physical therapy team is experienced in physical therapy for total knee replacements and has several convenient locations in the valley to help you through the rehabilitation process after surgery.

To learn more about physical therapy for total knee replacements, or begin your program after surgery, contact us today.

woman stretching in bed after wake up.

Why it Pays to Stretch Before Getting out of Bed

Does that morning alarm clock go off and the instant dread set in? Changing your morning routine by adding some relaxing techniques instead of constant rush and chaos can get you a little more excited to start your day. Too many of us wake achy and tired. Start your morning routine with stretching and see why it pays to stretch before you get out of bed.


Start by setting up your morning, at night. Sitting all day at the office, then the dinner table and then off to bed to do it all over again can quickly lead to a sore and achy morning. While laying in bed at night, do a few stretches to help promote better sleep and leave you feeling less achy and tight in the morning.


Short on time in the morning? Aren’t we all… The investment of time doesn’t have to be outrageous to help you feel better throughout your day. Even a short, simple routine can set you up to feeling better throughout your day. Give yourself a few extra minutes for your morning stretches, that’s it! You can do it, all it takes is one less push of the snooze button.


Speaking of the snooze button, some light stretching before reaching the coffee pot will give your body extra energy and have you feeling less sleepy before placing your feet to the ground. So, maybe you will go for one less cup of coffee by adding a few morning stretches.


Here are a few stretches you can add to your morning routine to get your day off on the right foot.


  1. Single-leg knee hug. Start by lying flat on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on your mattress. Bring one knee to your chest, wrapping your arms around your leg in a hug. While breathing, slowly straighten the alternative knee, until your leg is flat against the bed. Repeat on the other side.
  2. Wake up your body. Many of us, with little time in the morning and in a constant rush, jump out of bed before our body has had time to fully wake up. While your still lying in bed- on your back- start by circling your ankles for a few deep breaths. Then flex and point your feet a few times. After your ankles feel slightly warmed up, it’s time for the wrists. Lift your arms straight up towards the ceiling and circle your wrists in both directions for a few breaths. Finally, bring your hands by your sides and slowly rock your head from side to side. These moves will help wake the body up before you even have to sit up!
  3. Spine stretch. Start with your right leg lying straight on the bed and bringing your left knee to your chest. Cross your left knee over your straight, right leg, towards the mattress. Straighten your left arm out to the side, away from your body. Slowly look away from your left hand and back to it, holding this stretch for a few breaths. Repeat on the other side.


Starting with one or all of these simple stretches can help you feel less tight and achy before your day even gets started. Allow yourself to slowly wake up with these stretches, giving your morning a calming start. Try it tomorrow and see if it helps your aches and pains!

Baby at PT office

Physical Therapy for Babies and Kids

Physical therapy can be a great tool for health and wellness as adults, but did you know that babies and kids can benefit from physical therapy too? Physical therapy is a safe, natural and effective way to help and cure pain and injuries as well as correct misused muscles.


Infant physical therapy can be considered as one of the most effective forms of rehabilitative treatment for babies who need assistance with muscle control, balance, milestones, and more. Many physicians recommended physical therapy for infants who have developed disorders, regardless whether they developed from birth injuries and genetic abnormalities.


Each person, child and baby are different from one an other. Each individual treatment will vary according to disability, disorder or pain relief. Babies who are born prematurely often hold their shoulders close to their ears and a common goal for these babies is to help maintain proper posture with gentle massage and pushing the infant’s shoulders down. This treatment might be different to a baby who has a genetic abnormality. Common exercises will also very depending on the age of the baby and the disorder.


Your doctor or physician can recommend physical therapy If they feel your child may need it. Other way to know if your child may need physical therapy:

  • Fails to meet development milestones during the first year of life
  • Favors one side of the body and/or tilting the head to one side only
  • Has poor posture
  • Has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, torticollis, and other neuromuscular disorders
  • Has floppy and/or stiff muscle tone
  • Has excessive or limited joint mobility
  • Has difficulties with balance and coordination


Doctors often recommend physical therapy for kids and teens who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease or disability.


After an injury, physical therapist work with the child to decrease pain and improve movement, just as they would for an adult patient. The treatment could include teaching the child exercises designed to help them regain strength and range of motion.


It is important than every child have the ability to perform their job of playing. Physical therapists are concerned with a child’s ability to participate in daily movement activities as well as sports. Treatment may be used for children who play sports and want to avoid injury on and off the field.


Contact Physical Therapy is here to answer your questions and see if physical therapy is the best option for your child or infant.