All too often, we will hear from patients that suffered an injury and later tried to treat it at home on their own; rarely does this work. They usually find that the at-home treatments didn’t help and sometimes made it worse. Whether you’re experiencing pain from an injury or a chronic condition, you should not have to endure excruciating pain, and in most cases, it’s a bad idea to ignore it! Do you need physical therapy?

Here are 5 signs you need physical therapy. If you are noticing any of these signs, please give us a call – we can help!


1. Pain stays even after a few days of rest and icing.

When you experience an injury that you do not feel should take you to the ER, try icing and elevating the injured area for 15 minutes 3-4 times per day. If after 2 days there is no change, or your symptoms are worse, you should talk with your doctor about seeing a physical therapist.

2. There is a not-so-obvious change in the affected area.

If something isn’t necessarily visible, but you notice weakness in the area affected, that is also a sign. For example, if you injure your neck or arm, and you are having trouble lifting the arm to put your shirt on, there could be another issue to be addressed.

3. Your pain is high enough that you are changing how you do daily activities.

If your pain is in your low back and/or leg and you are not able to walk normally due to pain, you may need physical therapy and should be evaluated. Similarly, if you have pain in your neck and/or arm and you are unable to reach a high shelf or put a coat on, this should be looked at by a physical therapist.

4. If you have a low-level injury that is just “going to go away.”

If you have had an injury for 2-3 weeks and it has “just not gone away”, then you should be evaluated by a physical therapist. Waiting can prolong the healing and prevent you from getting back to your activities.

5. Familiar pain returns after an injury.

If your pain returns from an injury that you suffered in the past, for example, a knee injury from a few months ago, you may need to see a PT to help address why the pain has returned. Perhaps there is something that wasn’t treated before, or you are participating in an activity that is agitating your injury.