Physical Therapy without Referral – “Direct Access”

Posted on September 11, 2014

Did you know in the state of Oregon, and most other states, you can seek Physical Therapy care without needing a physician referral? That said, some insurances, including Medicare, still require a referral so call us and ask if yours does! Take a look at our “Why DPT” post. It explains our Doctorate level training as Physical Therapists.Description: Photo of DPT graduates

As Doctors of Physical Therapy, we consider ourselves your primary doctors for musculoskeletal pain. With that said, if you have a large injury that you believe you need to go to the Emergency Room for, go to the ER! However, if you feel like you “pulled” a muscle, sprained a ligament, or have just had some lingering discomfort, we’re your answer!

Why see your Physical Therapist first you ask? Here are 4 reasons:

  1. Time
    1. We work one-on-one with our patients. For your initial evaluation you will be scheduled for 45 minutes one-on-one with your Physical Therapist. In this time we perform a full history of your current pain and symptom history as well as your past medical history. Based on what you tell us, we then take you through a full postural and movement analysis. We see what hurts, what doesn’t hurt, what moves well, and what doesn’t move well. From there we assess what’s causing your pain and why. That’s the most important thing. Often if you have pain in one place, the problem is actually because you’re moving wrong in another place up or down the chain. We then move into treatment and work to decrease your pain, but also address the cause for your pain with appropriate stretching or strengthening exercises and manual therapy.
    2. We then schedule follow up visits as determined by your pain. Visits can be as often as 3 times per week and as little as 1 every 2 weeks or month. Each visit is 30-45 minutes of one-on-one treatment. Our goal with these is to decrease pain and improve your function. We will work to a point where your pain is eliminated, or at least much improved, and you have a home exercise program that you are independent with allowing you to continue to work on improving your movement once you’re discharged from Physical Therapy.Description: Photo of Therapist Performing Balance Therapy Treatment
  2. Money
    1. A recent study by Fritz, et. al.1 showed that patients that sought PT care for back pain within 14 days ended up spending less and had improved outcomes.
    2. The sooner you see us after your injury, the sooner we can get you moving in the right direction to feeling better. If you have a more significant injury that could require imaging, we will refer you to a specialist with an idea of what your injury could be, allowing them to be more specific with imaging – saving more money.
  3. Overall Health
    1. Hopefully you’re starting to understand that we consider your whole body and how it relates to your injury. We address you as a whole person to not only help you decrease your current pain, but also to help you move better to prevent injury in other areas.
  4. Value
    1. Physical Therapy will provide you excellent value for your dollar. You get valuable one on one time with a movement expert to help decrease your current pain and help you move better so you have less risk for injury down the road! We give you the treatment you need, but do work quickly to get you on your own home exercise/movement program so that you have more money to put toward all the fun activities you can now do without pain!

Physical Therapists are the healthcare provider to see when you have musculoskeletal pain. Our care is excellent, unique, and completely tailored to help you achieve your goals in life. At Corvallis Sport and Spine, our focus is using our skills to help you work, live, and play again! If you have pain, don’t wait, call us and see if you can come straight on in without a referral and we’ll get you on the right path to pain free movement! Please spread the word about direct access to Physical Therapy, it’s a good thing!

– Dane Happeny, DPT

2nd Photo courtesy of:


Fritz JM, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Flynn TW. Primary Care Referral of Patients With Low Back Pain to Physical Therapy: Impact on Future Health Care Utilization and Costs. Spine. 2012; 37(25): 2114-2121.

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