Why Shop Physical Therapy FIRST!

Unlike The Commonwealth Motors slogan “shop us last”, Physical Therapists across the nation are trying to educate everyone on shopping PT first! The goal is to inform and educate the benefits of Physical Therapy (PT) for both your injuries as well as our injured healthcare system.

Here’s a real life example of why you should shop PT first!

Last week I had a 35 year old patient come in reporting that she injured her back 6 weeks ago after bending down to pick up a sock on the floor. The pain was so terrible she could barely walk, so she went to the Emergency Room. The ER performed an x-ray, gave her muscle relaxers, pain meds (this is an entirely different discussion), and advised bed rest (worst thing you could do). The pain didn’t resolve so she followed up with her doctor several days later but wasn’t able to be seen for another week. Her condition had become worse and now she was having severe pain down her leg and couldn’t work. She finally got in to see her Primary Care Provider (PCP) and was told she had sciatica. At this point, Jill felt that something was extremely wrong and requested an MRI. The PCP told her that instead of imaging at this time she would need to see a physiatrist. (a physi-what? A physiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehab) Unfortunately, the physiatrist was booked out a few weeks but she would be put on a wait list. Jill was struggling with walking and the severe pain so having to wait 3 more weeks was unacceptable.

She again called her PCP and convinced her to schedule an MRI. She was also prescribed anxiety drugs to calm her. Her Primary did suggest Physical Therapy but Jill didn’t want to do anything until she had an MRI and knew exactly what was wrong. She wondered how could a PT treat her if they didn’t know exactly what the problem was? (Not true). Jill finally got her MRI which revealed a bulging disc at L4-L5. She was finally able to see the physiatrist who suggested she go to PT for 4-6 weeks. If she didn’t feel relief from PT, they would then give her an injection (hmm, that’s it? that’s what he’s recommending?)

After 6 weeks of debilitating pain, Jill finally started Physical Therapy and reported a 90% improvement after her FIRST session! (despite having a bulging disc!) She continued PT for 4 weeks and received skilled manual treatment, taught appropriate stretches, modified her current gym routine, and progressed her core strength for future prevention. After this successful treatment, she returned to her prior level of function, Jill promised to never shop us last again! PT will forever be her first stop shop for any musculoskeletal condition.

So, what would you prefer to do? Have 6 weeks of pain and anxiety, lose your vacation/personal time from work, spend your $3,000 or greater deductible and contribute to the ongoing healthcare crisis? Or go to PT, have immediate relief, and learn how to prevent this from ever happening again? Take a look at the cost savings below for you and the insurance industry.

Jill (Chose PT Last)

Hopefully YOU (PT 1st!)

$7,500 + lost time at work, delayed recovery by 6 weeks + stress/anxiety!

PT costs variable
Could be anywhere from 1-12 visits ($100-$1,200) Literature supports, earlier treatment results in faster healing

Jill’s expenses were quite costly versus what they would be had she chosen Physical Therapy first…

        • ER-$500
      • Medications: varies $50
    • PCP: $150 visit
    • Physiatrist $150 visit Average
      • PT Average $100/visit. 1-12 visits=$100-$1,200 + (later intervention results in longer treatment time)
      • MRI= $1,000- $3,000 depending on where you go (Check out mymedicalshopper.com for MRI savings in your area. It’s a transparency website that allows you to see the cost of services and save money)
        • Possible future injections-delayed PT may not be as effective as early intervention and result in need for spinal injections $1,000- $3,000

Total cost: up to $7,500 + lost time at work + stress/anxiety

Did you know that NH is a direct access state? Many insurances don’t require a referral, including Medicare patients and anyone with a PPO. You simply just call and line up an appointment. Hampton PT only has therapists with Doctorate degrees. We’re all trained to evaluate and treat you and recognize a need to refer you out.

I truly hope you choose Hampton PT and remember, GetPT1st!


30 Reasons To Choose Hampton Physical Therapy!

Actually, There are 30 GREAT Reasons To Choose Hampton Physical Therapy!

1. ALL practitioners have Doctorates of Physical Therapy
2. Treating and supporting Hampton & Seabrook (Seacoast) community for 15yrs!
3. No aides or assistants, your care is from a Doctor of PT
4. Independent of hospital – cost is 2-3x less than hospital care – significant savings for those with deductibles
5. Convenient locations… both clinics on Route 1 in Hampton and Seabrook, NH
6. Convenient times – Offering 7am-7pm Mon-Thurs and 7am-6pm on Fridays
7. Appointments available in 24hrs when flexible
8. Evidence based practice-all treatments are current and supported by research
9. Will call on your insurance and explain your benefit before starting-no surprises
10. Therapists certified in Dry Needling
11. Therapists certified in manipulations
12. Therapists certified in BFR training – first and only in the area
13. Therapists certified in Vestibular rehab
14. Therapists certified in Graston Technique
15. Orthopedic board-certified clinical specialist (only 1% of outpatient PTs hold this certification!)
16. FOTO outcome measure with reported 98% satisfaction rate
17. Friendly therapists and front office
18. Great clinic vibe… believe it or not patients report they have fun at therapy!
19. Every patient gets a ’30’ T-shirt!
20. Same therapist is seen at each visit, patients are not passed around
21. Hampton PT is not a factory! Quality 1:1 care
22. Communicates routinely with your MD with progress notes etc.
23. Involved and actively contributes to the community each month
24. HPT takes nearly all insurances
25. Offers Free discovery visits. Not sure if PT will help? Line a visit up to discuss with one of our Doctors
26. We don’t need a referral for Medicare or patients with a PPO. This saves you time & money. Simply line up an appointment for an evaluation
27. Clean, updated, state of the art clinics in both locations
28. Your insurance may pay you $100-$150 reimbursement for choosing to have your therapy with us!
29. Pride ourselves in being overly educated. HPT hosts courses and classes routinely to offer you the best and latest care
30. Last but not least, we truly care and are happy to partner with you in your recovery.

We will do everything we can to get you better!


Low Back Pain and Imaging Explained

By Jess Leberman, DPT – Hampton Clinic ~

Low back pain (LBP) is a significant condition in the general population making it the leading cause of daily activity and work related limitations and absences. It is estimated the lifetime prevalence of non-specific low back pain is 60% to 70%. LBP places a significant burden on individuals, families, and work places. For that reason, LBP is consistently the most commonly treated condition by outpatient physical therapists.

Frequently, patients visit emergency departments or primary care physicians with complaints of low back pain that is addressed with imaging and possible medication prescription. Imaging such as x-rays and MRIs often show abnormalities within the spine. Common findings on imaging of the lumbar spine include; disk degeneration, facet degeneration, and disk protrusion, which, can be interpreted as causes of back pain. In many cases these findings on imaging result in medical or surgical intervention that may or may not alleviate the symptoms. But how come when addressing these abnormalities found on imaging, does it not always alleviate the pain?1

Research Findings

Brinjikji W, et al studied the age-specific prevalence of the following imaging findings in asymptomatic individuals: disk degeneration, disk signal loss, disk height loss, disk bulge, disk protrusion, annular fissures, facet degeneration, and spondylolisthesis (a slipping of vertebrae).

The table below displays the percentage of individuals without Lower Back Pain that displayed changes on imaging;2

So what does this all mean?

Well simply put, imaging of the lumbar spine does not tell the whole story. There is a large proportion of people who display abnormalities within the lumbar spine on imaging, however, present with no low back pain. Based on the research, it can be suggested that more than 50% of those 40 years and older without Low Back Pain display disk degeneration or bulging meaning that even in a younger population changes within the lumbar spine. The research validates the statement that changes seen on imaging of the lumbar spine are considered normal in all age groups and may not be the direct cause of pain. These findings lend itself to the question, if I have general low back pain, is it necessary to get x-rays or an MRI? At Hampton Physical Therapy our Doctors of Physical Therapy specialize in evaluating low back pain, diagnosing the cause and assessing the need for further imaging.

Choose PT first for low back pain!

Contact Hampton PT for a Free Discovery Visit (or sign up online)!


  1. Duthey B. Background Paper, BP 6.24 Low back pain. World Health Organization. March 2013. https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/BP6_24LBP.pdf. Accessed May 28, 2019.
  2. Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, et al. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2015;36(4):811–816. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A4173