Can the Value of Physical Therapy Be Measured?

October is Physical Therapy month, and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has deemed the theme for 2024, “The Value of Physical Therapy.”

Value: noun – (val-ue) relative worth, utility or importance; consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial.

Can the value of physical therapy really be measured?

We have tools to measure our patients’ outcomes, but can we measure the actual value of services?  Physical therapy provides a variety of benefits, including reduced pain, improved function, increased range of motion, proper alignment and more.

Physical therapists are experts at movement who are trained to optimize function, improve motion, and ultimately, live better!  They will assess your condition and help you regain maximum functional mobility and independence. Physical therapists will also  use a variety of treatment modalities and techniques to help you move better and feel better.  Treatment is highly individualized, cutting edge, and research-based to return patients to their optimum functional level and live life to its fullest.

Again, we ask, can the value of physical therapy be measured?

The answer to that question would depend on each individual patient.

  • How valuable is it to be able to walk across the room pain free?
  • What does is it worth to be able to play with your grandchildren in the backyard? Or go on a walk with them?
  • Does your pain or inability to function at your best hold you back from taking that dream vacation?
  • Does your desk set-up at work cause you to go home at the end of the day with headaches?
  • Are there any extra-curricular activities that you are passing up because your back, neck, or another body part is holding you back?
  • How much do you value a pain free life to participate in any activities you enjoy?

Physical therapists treat people across the entire lifespan. Many therapists have certifications or specializations to treat a certain population, like children, the elderly, or athletes. Regardless of age or population, if you have a condition that is keeping you from the activities in your life, a physical therapy evaluation may be warranted to offer treatment and a strategy to improve function.

The benefits of physical therapy include:

  • Prevention of the onset and/or slow progression of conditions resulting from injury, disease, and other causes
  • Pain management with reduced need for opioids
  • Avoidance of surgery
  • Improvement in mobility and movement
  • Recovery from injury or trauma
  • Recovery from stroke or paralysis
  • Fall prevention
  • Improvement in balance
  • Management of age-related medical problems

From the APTA:

“A recent study also examined the overall value of choosing physical therapy over other options. Researchers calculated the economic impact of choosing physical therapy for the following eight conditions, representing a broad spectrum of physical therapist treatment: Cancer Rehabilitation, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Falls Prevention, Stress Urinary Incontinence, Osteoarthritis of the Knee, Low Back Pain, Tennis Elbow, and Claudication (leg pain when walking due to restricted blood flow).  They found that physical therapy is effective and saves on all the hidden costs of your time, pain, missed life events, and the dollars paid for services.

Find a physical pherapist

If you have an injury or illness that results in pain, physical impairment, limited movement, or a loss of function, a physical therapist can help.  Some patients are referred to physical therapy from his or her physician, and others seek therapy directly. Find out how valuable physical therapy can be to you.