What Are The Advantages Of Seeing A Physical Therapist First

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The Advantages Of Seeing A Physical Therapist First

Physical Therapy First

You are in pain. You want help. But who should you turn to? Here’s why Physical Therapy is your answer. 

So, if you have pain in your feet, back, neck, shoulder, knees or some other joint or muscle in your body, whom should you contact first? Your Physical Therapist? A Doctor? OR a Chiropractor?

The health professional you see first should be one that spends a significant amount of time listening to you and the issues that are keeping you from what you need, want and love to do.

You also want to spend time with the professional who will take between 45 minutes to an hour examining your body as a whole, versus just focusing on one area. 

Why? This is because many times the area you are having pain is not the area that started the pain. In other words, the pain is coming from somewhere else in your body. 

Getting to Know You And The Root Cause Of Your Pain With A Physical Therapist
Advantages of Physical Therapist

Generalizing a condition or the pain that you are feeling is – we think – dangerous. Just because you are suffering from lower back pain doesn’t mean that you have the exact same cause as the person before you. 

For example, I see patients with lower back injuries that have minimal pain in their back, but have intense pain and weakness in their leg and foot. 

If I only look at the patient’s leg and foot since this is where the pain is worst, but don’t examine the back, then I am only treating the symptoms and not fixing the cause of the foot and leg pain – which is actually the low back.

The person sitting beside you is also suffering from weakness in the leg and foot, but their affliction could be different. If I were to generalize their pain and only focus on where the pain sits, I could miss that their discomfort actually stems from hip joints that haven’t healed properly after a car accident from a decade ago.

It always pays to learn about each individual person’s background, history, and situation. From this information, physical therapists can pull together a treatment plan to address the patient’s unique condition. 

A physical therapy clinic should not generalize. If they do, then you aren’t going to recover fully. It’s why, at Cardin & Miller, we take the time to listen to the issues you are having and what you would like to get back to. We want to get to know you and welcome you into our Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, or Carlisle family. 

What About Help From My Doctor?
Doctor Appointment

If you’ve sought help from a doctor, then you’ll likely now be on a course of medication, shots, surgery or rest. Typically, these options don’t solve the problem. While you may notice a short-term benefit from taking pills, shots or rest, it is just that—a short term benefit.

Doctors often generalize back pain, leg pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain as “part of the aging process” and curable with time. Typically, many medical practices seldom explore and resolve the potential causes of such discomfort, but rather, treat the symptoms.

You will not awake in six months to find that your chronic back pain has miraculously cured itself. These painkillers are only going to mask your pain; they are not going to solve it. 

Doctors may recommend surgery vs. focusing on conservative measures to get to the root cause of what’s going. This doesn’t solve the problem in a cost- effective way, and surgery can often lead to further complications.

Of course, we are not saying that Doctors are not helpful, nor that they don’t have your best interest in mind, however Physical Therapists are trained to determine and address the cause of the problem without the use of pills, shots or surgery.

At Cardin & Miller, our mantra is to help you ditch the pills, shots and surgery and return to the things you need want and love to do.

We can also help you save time as most insurances will allow you to come directly to see one of our Physical Therapists at Cardin and Miller, without the need to wait for long periods for an appointment with your Doctor.

In addition, this helps you save money by reducing the need for multiple copays/co-insurance that you would incur going to several Doctor’s appointments; just to end up seeing us months later.

We always communicate with your Doctor, though. As soon as we evaluate you, we send a report to your Doctor so that they know how we are helping you – and why.

In addition, we will call and communicate with them if there are issues that require their involvement – so that we are all “rowing in the same direction” as our ultimate goal is to provide the best, most comprehensive care that we can to each of our patients.

Physical Therapist: Fitting The Mold

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists fit the mold of what you should look for perfectly, because they are trained to listen intently to the issues you are having and what you want to return to. 

We spend an entire hour with each of our patients on their first visit to do just that, listen intently and examine thoroughly. That’s why the first visit is so important.

We often begin treatment if there is time remaining after your evaluation. We’ll gain an understanding of how your personal situation affects your body. This allows us the opportunity to build a personalized treatment package for the most significant impact upon your pain and discomfort and get you back to enjoying life.


While we won’t get into administering a full-on physical therapy session on your first visit, we’ll gain an understanding of how your personal situation affects your body. This allows us the opportunity to build a personalized treatment package for the most significant impact upon your chronic pain and discomfort. 

Physical Therapists are also trained to determine the root cause of the pain and attack instead of just treating the symptoms with pills, shots, surgery, etc.

Taking Time 


Often there are times where Doctors are very busy and are overbooked. Which means that you may have to sit in their waiting room long after your appointment time only to be seen for a few short minutes – this does not allow for much time to be listened to or examined thoroughly. 

In turn, this leads to the easiest path, which is to be given pills and or shots and told to rest. In the long run, this can prolong the problems you started with; since the cause is not being addressed. 

Most insurances allow you to see a Physical Therapist first because they know that the Physical Therapist has more time to spend with the patient. Remember – half the battle is the correct diagnosis. 

We work with the doctors as the Physical Therapist’s job is to send the patient to the doctor immediately if – during our thorough evaluations – we see red flags or develop severe concerns for your well-being. 

Physical therapists may also suggest that you see a doctor for diagnostic testing before moving forward with Physical Therapy. It’s all about your recovery. We want to see you back on form and living life as you want to! 


Chiropractors can be very helpful, as well. However, most are trained to treat acute pain. Chiropractors focus on manipulating the spine and sometimes the arms and legs joints back “into” position with manual thrust maneuvers. 

Many times, this results in rapid and significant relief; however, it is often temporary – which is why many patients need to have treatments for months or years on end. 

Physical Therapists also use manual techniques to ensure that the spine and joints are in proper alignment. 

There’s more, too. They also focus on restoring proper flexibility and strength to the muscles and joints surrounding the spine and extremities because that is what stabilizes the joints of the spine and extremities. 

This stabilization creates long-term relief because it fixes the reason why the problem occurred in the first place. Thus, the treatment time in Physical Therapy is significantly less – 4-6 weeks at two sessions a week, then continuing at home with flexibility and strengthening to maintain stabilization and thus, relief of pain so you can resume all the things you need, want and love to do.

We Can Help You Escape Chronic Pain!

Chronic Pain Physical Therapist

Are you in pain? Are you suffering from discomfort? Are you unable to partake in events with family and friends that you desperately want to?

Trying to live with pain as the new normal is common for people who feel nothing can be done about it. But you don’t need to live this way. Physical therapy is your most effective treatment procedure for regaining normality, and we’d be delighted to welcome you into our family during your route to recovery. 

At Cardin & Miller Physical Therapy, we love to help people aged 40 and older get back to living the life they deserve. A life not dictated to them via pills, shots or surgery. A life that’s not interrupted by time spent in the doctor’s office. A life that is free from pain spoiling the party!

We can offer you the opportunity to schedule a Free Screen with one of our expert physical therapists, to listen to you and talk you through what we can do for you. You can also apply for a Phone consultation– absolutely free!

Alongside services for joint and muscle pain, we also offer unique services to our area: state-of-the-art 3D imaging to create customized foot orthotics. Furthermore, we can also provide diabetic shoes and inlays for people suffering from complications from diabetes. 

We have clinics in Carlisle, Harrisburg, and Mechanicsburg that offer effective pain relief services for those suffering from chronic discomfort. You can get in touch with us through our contact page

So, looking for pain relief free from injections, painkillers, surgery, and dependency on drugs? Get in touch with Cardin & Miller Physical Therapy. We look forward to hearing from you! 


Steve Miller

Steve Miller

Steve has been practicing Outpatient, Orthopedic Physical Therapy in the Central Pennsylvania region since 1994. His academic history includes undergraduate work at Central Pennsylvania College and Lock Haven University, graduate studies at the University of Findlay, and pedorthic certification from Temple University. By combining his education and years of experience, Steve has been able to provide individual physical therapy and pedorthic services to his patients for over 15 years. Steve has been to more that 20 continuing education courses during that span, with the focus being on orthopedics, pedorthic implementation, and foot/ankle injuries. He utilizes a combination of McKenzie, manual therapies, and functional exercise in the treatment of clients with all types orthopedic maladies.
Steve Miller

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