How to Find a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist is often an essential part of rehabilitation after injury or surgery. They can help you to correct your posture, gain strength and be more healthy at home and work. If you need a physical therapist, then you should consider the advice of your friends and doctor. You should also research a number of therapists in your area that may be possible choices. Most people determine their physical therapist based on a number of different medical and personal preferences. Learn how to find a physical therapist.


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    Make a doctor's appointment to discuss your physical therapy needs. The doctor should have a general view for how long you need physical therapy, how many sessions you should have and for what particular problems. Ask your doctor to write out his opinions on your physical therapy treatment in prescription form.
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    Ask your doctor for several recommendations about expert physical therapists in your area. Many physical therapists specialize in things like elder care, joint care, arthritis, chronic pain and heart surgery recovery. Leave your doctor's appointment with 3 to 5 recommended therapists.
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    Call your insurance company. Dial the customer service number on the back of your policy card. Ask the operator to review your physical therapy benefits with you.
    • Most insurance companies do not allow an unlimited number of physical therapy visits during a calendar year. Most specify coverage of between 10 and 20 after the deductible is met. You may be required to pay for any visits after that number is met.
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    Ask the insurance company how to find the physical therapists that are in your network. If you have an HMO or a PPO, chances are you get different coverage for in-network and out-of-network care. It is a good idea to try to find an in-network therapist that comes highly recommended.
    • Most insurance companies have a website where you can search for local in-network physical therapists. This is the easiest way to search for physical therapists because you will have a number of options.
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    Ask for advice from friends in your area who have used physical therapists. This is especially important if they have been treated for the same problem as you have, because you can hear how they work with patients. Compare these therapists to the list you received from your doctor and the list you have found through your insurance company's website.
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    Search for online reviews of physical therapists. If you have an account on Angie's List, this might be the best place to find reviews, because companies cannot pay to be reviewed on this site. You can also try,, or
    • Make sure to read at least 10 reviews, including ones that are both good and bad. The ratings themselves may not say everything, and you should look for people who are reviewing the therapists based on the same preferences you have.
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    Check that the physical therapist you are interested in using has a registered license. Go to to find links to each state's license search engine.
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    Review the physical details of the physical therapy practice. Ensure that the location and hours are manageable in your condition. In a large metropolitan area, you may want to choose a practice that is a bus ride or short drive away, if you have mobility limitations.
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    Call the practice to inquire about discounts. This is especially important if you do not have insurance, or if your insurance does not cover many physical therapy appointments. Many physical therapists work with athletes and people who do not use insurance, so ask them if they have bulk discounts or discounts for people who cannot afford their regular rates.
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    Go to your initial appointment. If the physical therapist does not take the time to test your pain levels, range of motion and other abilities, you may want to consider seeking help elsewhere. The initial appointment should leave you feeling comfortable with the physical therapist because they have taken care to review your condition and create a treatment plan.

Things You'll Need

  • Doctor's appointment
  • Insurance benefits
  • In-network search engine
  • Doctor recommendations
  • Recommendations from friends
  • Online therapist reviews
  • Initial appointment

Article Info

Categories: Finding a Medical Specialist