DPPS vs. Traditional PT: Why Insurance Isn’t Always Saving You Money

Case of the Day – Oct. 24 2015

Today’s case is a great example of why clients often choose our integrated therapy sessions in lieu of traditional physical therapy. While physical therapy is a fantastic resource, and a good PT can be invaluable in many scenarios, it is often prescribed by doctors for the wrong reasons. (Remember, most doctors are not pain specialists. If you go to a general practitioner, orthopedist, etc., and they cannot find a problem that falls within their specialty, then they have no choice but to turn to generic answers, typically medication and/or standard physical therapy.)

At DPPS, our specialty is pain resolution. Yesterday, we saw a new client who was referred to us by a work colleague when her doctor told her she needed physical therapy for acute neck pain and stiffness. During our phone call, she was initially hesitant when I explained that we do not accept insurance. Understandably, most people want to take advantage of their health insurance because of the perception that it will save them money. Ultimately, this individual chose to see us anyway based on the strong recommendation from her colleague and because she could still use her flexible spending account with us.

As we see with most clients, the location of her pain and the source of her pain were not identical. In her case, most of her neck and shoulder pain was coming from neurological dysfunction in her pelvic ligaments and internal organs. (Yes, your organs communicate with your brain, and yes, we can identify and correct miscommunication when it occurs.)

When she walked in our door, her neck pain was an 8.5 out of 10, and she had perhaps 10 degrees of rotation in her neck. An hour later, her pain was 2.5 out of 10 and she had at least 60 degrees of rotation. From there, she probably could have chosen to recover completely with some additional rest, but she was adamant about returning for at least one more visit because of how powerful the work was.

As we explain to many clients in similar situations, when calculating costs, you have to consider the number of visits. Even paying out-of-pocket for two visits, this client will spend less than half of what she would have spent for her “prescribed” number of PT visits and the associated co-pays. And because traditional physical therapists cannot usually assess and treat the vast array of neurological issues we can, there is no guarantee they would have ever focused on the real causes of her pain. 

For reference, here are some common locations of organ referral pain. If any of these patterns seem familiar to you, consider scheduling an Integrated Therapy session with us.