Is Cheap Physical Therapy Good?

cheap physical therapy

Physical therapy isn’t cheap. Anybody who has had a debilitating injury or condition will tell you that. While an individual session may be affordable, many treatment plans last for months or even years.

The price for each physical therapy session varies, as the treatment plan is customized to the patient’s needs. The most common price for a physical therapy session is roughly $150. Depending on the treatment center, it can be a little more or less per session. That is not counting the cost of the initial evaluation, which is typically more in-depth and expensive than regular sessions.

If you have health coverage, you can typically expect your insurance policy to cover up to 80% of the cost of your physical therapy sessions. This means that for every $150 you spend you can expect to pay roughly $30. That’s fairly affordable, depending on the number of days per week you require physical therapy. There are methods you can use to save even more money on physical therapy, but that can beg the question: Can cheap physical therapy be good?

Defining ‘Cheap’

When talking about “cheap” physical therapy, remember that the term cheap is subjective. What is affordable to some may not be affordable to others. For some, it’s cheaper to spend a larger sum of money up front, but spend less over the long haul of a treatment plan. For others, it will make more sense to spend the smaller amount upfront, even if recovery takes longer. Financial outlay is a tightrope walk only you can assess for yourself.

Quality of Care

Whether you’re paying a large amount of money or not, you’re entitled to good quality care. There’s no reason to opt for “cheap” physical therapy if a basic standard of care isn’t met.

Cost Effective Treatment

Your insurance is usually the first means to get affordable PT. If you’re approved, your insurance will likely handle the bulk of the costs. However, that $30 per visit becomes more expensive if you have to make multiple visits per week for many months. There are cost-effective means to get your physical therapy beyond the amount of money that your insurance covers.

Trainee Opportunities

It is possible to receive free or reduced-cost physical therapy. There are many physical therapy facilities that offer services to patients who are willing to receive the treatment from trainees. To some, this may sound like being a guinea pig, but such sessions are always conducted under the supervision of fully trained physical therapists.

What About DIY Solutions?

If you’re looking to save money, the do-it-yourself approach can be a viable option under the right circumstances. This doesn’t mean that you should go out and start buying exercise equipment and using YouTube for your reference. You still need to speak with a doctor and physical therapy specialist to determine if it is safe for physical therapy sessions to be conducted at home. You probably still need to shell out money for at least an initial evaluation.

Once you have gone through your evaluation, you have the chance to take stock of what you’ll need to do physical therapy at home. You may have to buy things such as dumbbells, ankle weights, a medicine ball, and exercise bands. It’s unlikely insurance will cover the cost of these items, but the money you save in the long run can justify the cost.

Is this method a good idea? If a physical therapist approves of the approach and you’re willing to stick to your therapy regimen, then yes. If you worry you may fall behind, or overdo it, then no. Home physical therapy is like regular physical therapy: You get out of it what you’re willing to put into it. If you’re diligent and dedicated to your recovery then you can stay on track and save money at the same time. If you are lax and fall behind you will end up spending more money. This is because you will spend more time catching up.

There’s An App For That

These days there’s an app for everything. It should come as no surprise that there are numerous apps that can make doing physical therapy more affordable. With these apps, you can stay on track with your PT schedule, discover new ways to approach PT, and achieve your PT goals.

  • PT Pal Pro – PT Pal Pro is a program designed to increase your engagement with your physical therapy. It allows you to access your treatment plans, keep track of appointments with text message reminders, and access notes about their treatment.
  • PT Timer: Stretch and Exercise – It can be easy to say that all you have to do for PT is to exercise. However, you can botch an exercise and hurt yourself even more. PT Timer: Stretch and Exercise is an app that will coach you through your exercises so you do them correctly. It will count your reps and sets and even send a progress report to your physical therapist.
  • MyRehab – This is an app that features high quality videos and images. The images show the patient how to properly do their PT treatments. It also features information on follow-up care and first-ad should you have problems.

Paying in Cash

It may sound somewhat counterintuitive to pay for a physical therapy treatment center in cash to save money. Sometimes, though, the most expeditious treatments that can help end your need for physical therapy may not be covered by your insurance. If your insurance is only willing to cover treatments that may take more time than necessary, paying in cash may be the solution.

Like many medical practices, some physical therapy centers that allow you to pay in cash often charge less money to uninsured patients for treatments than they would normally charge an insurance provider. This will, of course, cost you more money upfront. In the long run, however, you will find that it may save you very real money.

Having this kind of cash on hand may not always be possible. With insurance driving up medical prices, it may be worth moving savings to make it a possibility. Long-term savings could mean the difference between receiving care and not going bankrupt along the way.

Discuss the difference in price paying in cash with your physical therapy center. Consider if the cash payment option is a better way to go. Oftentimes being upfront with what you can afford better enables the doctor to treat you and stay within your budget. Your physical therapist wants to help you. If helping keep your budget is a part of that, most practices will work with you.


Can You Do Inexpensive Physical Therapy On Your Own?

Can you do physical therapy yourself?

When you have an injury or a chronic illness that makes staying mobile difficult, physical therapy is often prescribed. However, physical therapy (or PT) can get pricey, especially if you don’t have insurance. This is why so many people try to find ways to do physical therapy inexpensively, at home.

When trying to find inexpensive physical therapy there’s one question that inevitably comes up: Do I have to go to a treatment center or can I do physical therapy on my own at home? This question is tricky to answer because there are variables that should be considered. Here is everything you need to know if you want to do physical therapy on your own. (Disclaimer: Don’t consider this post the final word in physical therapy advice. Consult your doctor before making any decisions about physical therapy.)

The Major Caveat

The biggest caveat about doing physical therapy at home: it isn’t always possible to do. If you think that you’ll be able to simply look up your condition, find helpful literature or a how-to video, and create a physical therapy regimen that will get you back on track, you are sadly mistaken.

When You Should Not Try Physical Therapy At Home

There are certain scenarios in which doing physical therapy on your own is not only a bad idea but actually impossible. Here are the main scenarios in which home physical therapy should not be attempted.

  • If you are dealing with a recent injury, particularly if it is still causing grievous pain.

  • If your doctor deems it critical you do physical therapy at a physical therapy center.

  • If doing physical therapy on your own poses a danger to you.

If you are attempting to save money by doing your physical therapy from home, be advised that it is never worth going against the doctor’s orders just to save money. You may make your health worse and have to spend more money if you injure yourself because you tried to do your PT in a different way than your doctor’s recommendation.

What a Specialist Can Do To Help

You’ll have to see a physical therapist to determine the best course of action for your treatment. A physical therapist can give you an evaluation to determine what your therapeutic needs are. Once they have a full understanding of your therapeutic needs, they can start to develop your treatment plan.

Your treatment plan is a highly personal thing that is designed to cater not only to your injury or condition but your whole body. The plan that one patient is given will not be exactly the same as another patient with a similar condition. This is a big reason you can’t just turn to the Internet for help.

Prepare Your Space

If you’re serious about using your home for your physical therapy regimen, you need to make sure your home is able to accommodate your needs. You need a space in your home in which you can keep any equipment you’ll use during physical therapy. The space needs to be clear enough that you can do any and all exercises.

Stay Diligent

If you are sincere about doing your physical therapy regimen on your own, you must be diligent and consistent. If you don’t stick to your treatment plan you risk undoing all of your hard work. Not sticking to a physical therapy regimen is a big drawback of attempting to do it on your own. It’s easier to fall out of your routine if you have the convenience and comforts of home surrounding you. Stick to your plan. It’s the best way to ensure recovery.

Take Proper Precautions

Another concern about doing physical therapy at home instead of at a treatment facility? Safety. There are numerous things that could go wrong when doing PT at home that may not have crossed your mind. Here are some things you need to keep in mind in order to do your physical therapy in a safe manner.

Don’t Push Yourself Too Much

The core idea of physical therapy is to push yourself and build your endurance so that you can return to or maintain a life of normal physical activity. Some people make the mistake of thinking that they need to push themselves to extremes in order to achieve desired results faster. This is a big mistake.

You may think that pushing yourself to your limit will make it easier for you to resume normal living, but you can actually set yourself back. Pushing yourself too hard, be it with stretches, exercises, or even how long you make each session last will only serve to tire you out and put further strain on your soft body tissue. This means that you will spend more time trying to recover from your physical therapy before starting your next session.


Inexpensive Physical Therapy Exercises You Can Do From Home

If you are going to do physical therapy from home then it helps to know what kind of exercises you can do from home. These are exercises that do not require the extensive equipment that you may find in a treatment center.

  • Stretches

  • Bow and Arrow Stretch

  • Burpees

  • Calf Stretch

  • Corner Stretch

  • Hamstring Stretch

  • Bodyweight Squats

  • Crunches

  • Push-ups

  • Planks with a raised leg

  • Sit-ups

  • Side bends

Master of Your Own Care

Remember that taking on physical therapy on your own is a big responsibility. There will be times when you may not feel it is worth it. There will be times that your health may not seem like good enough motivation to stick with it. In those times you need to think of your loved ones and those who may need you. If you can stick to your PT regimen then you can get your life back to normal.

How to Find Affordable Physical Therapy

physical therapy, affordable physical therapy near me

Recovering from an injury, debilitating illness, or chronic pain can be a long and difficult path. Physical therapy can be critical for anyone trying to improve the strength of their muscles, and often improves one’s quality of life. As with many longterm medical treatments, physical therapy can get expensive. Even if you have insurance that covers your PT, you’ll likely have a copay to worry about.

If you do not have insurance, then things will be more financially stringent as you will have to cover the entire cost of your appointments. If you are wealthy then this may not be a problem for you. However, most people will find getting affordable physical therapy to be a bit more difficult.

What Physical Therapy Entails

Physical therapy treatments vary from patient to patient. In general, the treatments are based on exercises designed to re-acclimate the patient to normal physical activity. This can be through the use of basic exercises, or through the use of exercise equipment such as treadmills, resistance bands, or balance bars.

There are different types of physical therapy based on the condition of the patient. Understanding your condition will help you understand how much you can expect to pay for physical therapy.

What PT Costs Without Insurance

Estimating the price of physical therapy is nearly impossibly without knowing the treatment plan and the patient’s insurance. For starters, the nature of one’s injury or condition has a major effect on the therapy needed. Some cases are temporary, and the subject needs only a few sessions of physical therapy. Other cases, like those addressing chronic pain, may require ongoing sessions.

Treatment centers have different prices — location, clientele, and specialization influence the charges from clinic to clinic. If you require specialized therapy, insurance may not be willing to cover it. Check if the treatment plan is deemed as a medical necessity. If it isn’t, you’ll have a hard time getting sign-off from an insurance company.

Generally, your first visit to a physical therapist will cost more money than your regular sessions. On your first session, your physical therapist will evaluate your needs and formulate a treatment plan. Your recurring sessions will typically be less expensive.

If you do not have insurance that covers physical therapy, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $150 for a standard visit. Some specialized visits can be as expensive as $350 per session. Do as much research as you can so you know what to expect.

To further break it down, here are the costs you’re likely to pay:

  • Insured: If you’re insured, you’ll pay, on average, 20% of your PT costs. For example, your cut of a $100 fee would be $20.
  • Uninsured: If you’re uninsured, expect to pay $100 to $150 per session. This becomes more expensive if your care plan calls for more frequent trips to the treatment center.

Specialized Physical Therapy Treatments

Some physical therapy treatments go beyond mere exercises and strength training. Check with your insurance to see if these specialities are covered. Some will, some won’t. It depends on your type of coverage.

Treatments such as acupuncture or cryotherapy, for example, are not universally accepted by the medical community. Hydrotherapy is more likely to be covered if a doctor deems it essential. 

If you want to save money on these specialized treatments, your best option is to reach out to treatment centers and ask for any money-saving measures they have. It’s not uncommon for treatment centers to work with patients on cutting costs. Some treatment centers even offer discounts on regular sessions if there is a finite number of them. They do this in the form of bundling the sessions into one overarching cost — this saves money in the long run.

Utilizing Your Insurance Plan

If you have insurance, your insurance provider is the first resource you need to use. Some insurance companies may suggest a specific in-network healthcare facility. Staying with your insurance provider’s network is one of the better options you have, but do not mistake that for being the only option.

If Medicare is your insurance, approximately 80% of your treatment cost is covered. This leaves you with the remaining 20%. For example, if your physical therapy sessions cost $100, you would pay $20.

Thinking Out of the Box

When your doctor prescribes physical therapy, ask about alternative services for physical therapy. Some facilities offer free physical therapy treatment. The trade-off? Trainees to be administering the therapy. These sessions are usually supervised.

Your doctor may also be able to suggest treatment centers that offer sliding-scale payments, meaning that they will only charge you based on what you can afford.

Doing Treatment at Home

Depending on the nature of one’s physical condition and what they are physically capable of doing, it is possible to do physical therapy exercises from home. This could reduce the number of necessary sessions that a patient would need. It needs to be stressed that this should only be done if one’s physical therapist were to agree that the patient is healthy enough to do them at home. This can ultimately save hundreds of dollars if done correctly.

In order to take this route you should ask the physical therapist to demonstrate any and all necessary exercises. You should record the demonstrations if the physical therapist is comfortable with you doing so. You should not do the exercises without an additional person who can assist you unless your physical therapist deems it safe to do so.

PT Apps

If you get the green light from your physical therapist to do at-home therapy there are apps you can download that will make keeping up with your physical therapy easier, in and out of the treatment center. Best of all, these apps will help you make physical therapy more affordable. Here are some great options:

Physera – Physera keeps you connected with highly qualified physical therapy experts remotely. If you are unable to make it to an actual treatment center or do not have insurance that covers physical therapy this option may be effective. The rates for using Physera are lower than in-person visits, with your first assessment session costing $100 and subsequent sessions costing $50.

PT Pal Pro – PT Pal Pro is an app that enables you to keep up with your physical therapy. Think of it as having a digital personal assistant that can remind you of PT appointments, keep track of your treatment plans, and even how you are doing with your physical therapy. It is an indispensable tool that can help you stay on top of your PT and potentially reduce the amount of it you have to do. It is available for free on Apple devices.

PT Timer Stretch and Exercise – This is an app designed specifically to keep track of performance of PT exercises. The patient is able to do their exercises and have a strict record of how long their exercises took, what difficulties they had with them, or any other notable detail. The app relays the notes to the physical therapist tracking the patient’s progress. This saves money by enabling the user to keep up with their physical therapy outside the treatment center.

CoPatient – Sometimes you cannot save money up front. That does not mean that you cannot save money after your appointment. CoPatient looks at your past medical bills to review the accuracy of the billing. If they find any potential savings they will only charge 35% of the savings for their fee.

Doing Your Due Diligence

One of the best ways that you can reduce the amount of money spent on physical therapy is to fully commit to your physical therapy. This may seem obvious, but it is easy to become lax with physical therapy schedules and exercises over time. This is understandable because physical therapy can be strenuous and difficult.

If you stick to your PT schedule, do the exercises required of you, and follow the advice of your physical therapist, your condition will improve so you can complete your physical therapy. The sooner you finish with physical therapy, the sooner you reduce the cost to zero.

You may not be able to nullify further physical therapy due to having a chronic condition, but you can still reduce the number of visits you take by staying on top of your therapy. This may not save you on the rate that you pay for your physical therapy, but it should reduce the frequency at which you pay it.

Don’t Skimp

Saving money is important. Saving your health is more important. Don’t make the mistake of putting your health at risk trying to save yourself money. Talk to your insurance provider, ask questions of your doctors, and speak to treatment centers that provide physical therapy. Chances are good that you can find ways to save a few dollars.