A Body One Series: PT Myth Busting

By: Dr. Jenny Kern

There are many common myths about physical therapy that you may have heard, and we’re here to bust them! In each myth-busting article, you’ll learn the reality behind common misconceptions – and the way physical therapy really works and works to help you get better.

“My shoulder feels a little stiff. You’re a physical therapist; can’t you just give me a massage?” 

It’s a question that almost every physical therapist has heard from family and friends at one point or another. We can often laugh it off, but the underlying issue is not that our friends want a free massage but that many people don’t fully understand the depth of physical therapy. There are plenty of common myths about PT that you’ve probably heard, and here are a couple of them:

Myth #1: PT is going to hurt (it stands for Pain and Torture, right?)


The purpose of PT is never to increase pain, it’s to relieve pain! Your physical therapist will never have you do exercises that are painful just to do them. Every exercise or treatment you encounter has a purpose, and that purpose is to build strength, improve range of motion, or relieve pain. It’s true, you may feel sore or tired after a session, but you should never feel significantly worse with PT. Many people actually feel much better with physical therapy that day and for several days afterward.

Myth #2: My PT will fix me. I came to PT so they could treat me. I’m not expected to do anything. 


Physical therapy is a team effort! Your physical therapist is there to guide you, assist you, and encourage you. S/he will likely perform some hands-on therapy to improve flexibility or reduce pain, but the best way to “fix” yourself is to move your body. “Motion is lotion,” is a common saying you’ll hear from your provider. The more active movements you can perform, the better your body will be at “fixing” itself. The goal of PT is not so you need to go  forever; the goal is for you to take your care into your own hands so you don’t need your physical therapist anymore!

Physical therapy has a lot more substance than just a massage or a couple of short-term stretches. Your physical therapist has extensive knowledge of the human body, and their goal is to help you improve your body and mindset to be the best you that you can be. Contact your physical therapist to discuss your struggles and goals to see if right now is the time for you to start PT! Body One PT is locally-owned and operated, with three locations serving Central Indianapolis: North Indy/Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville. Call today to find out how PT can help you!