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Can you see a physical therapist without a referral?

man exercising with physical therapist

Physical therapy can offer great health benefits to people with a range of backgrounds and health conditions. Common conditions ranging from headaches to ankle pain can be addressed by physical therapy. This valuable health care service is designed to help people improve their health. Specific treatments can help with recovering from injuries and managing chronic conditions. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to know what physical therapy is accessible to you. Lacking insurance coverage or a prescription for physical therapy can make it challenging to receive the care you need. Are you looking for physical therapy near you without a referral? If so, it is important to understand how you can still access quality care.

How physical therapy with and without a referral works

Referrals are sometimes also called prescriptions or orders. These terms can all refer to written recommendations from a health care provider. This could be a primary care physician, surgeon or other specialist. Referrals traditionally serve as a way to ensure coordinated treatment between different aspects of your health care. However, this does not mean you always need a referral to receive care.


  • Traditional referrals — In some locations, physical therapy services require a referral. Patients typically first visit their primary health care physician. This person can assess your condition and determine if physical therapy is necessary. If your health care provider decides physical therapy can help you, they can then write a referral. This referral may also include recommendations on the duration and frequency of physical therapy sessions. While referrals may not be required in your area, they can still be helpful for insurance coverage purposes.

  • Direct access — Need physical therapy near you without a referral? States with “direct access” laws allow patients without referrals to still access physical therapy. The specifics of direct access vary state by state. Fortunately, all 50 states allow patients to seek some level of physical therapy without a referral. This means you should be able to receive the care you need regardless of your referral status. With direct access, you can make direct contact with a physical therapy provider. This allows you to bypass jumping through hoops to receive a referral or prescription.

Benefits of virtual physical therapy without referral

  • Accessibility — When you are choosing a physical therapy provider, accessibility can be a major factor. This can be especially significant for people without a referral. With care accessible from the comfort of home, virtual physical therapy can offer major convenience. Virtual care also allows patients to overcome transportation barriers. By eliminating the need for travel, virtual physical therapy can save time and effort. Because of direct access regulations, many people can get virtual physical therapy with no referral.

  • Cost-effectiveness — Virtual care can offer significant savings compared to in-person options. Top providers offer care that is 47% cheaper on average per episode of care. For patients without insurance coverage, this price difference can make a massive impact. Direct pay for virtual care can also provide refreshing transparency to people looking for treatment. With clear virtual care pricing, you can learn how much your physical therapy will cost before going into each appointment. Physical therapy near you may not accept patients without referrals. If they do, the cost could be prohibitive. With virtual physical therapy, you can access affordable care whether you have a prescription or not.

  • Personalized care — Looking for highly customizable physical therapy? Virtual physical therapy can offer an experience tailored to your needs and preferences. Remote sessions are conducted one-on-one with a licensed clinician. This ensures that you receive personalized attention as you and your clinician build a treatment plan. Physical therapy specialists can observe movements and provide real-time feedback, modifying exercises when needed. Remote physical therapy typically offers flexible scheduling as well. This means you can work toward recovery on a timetable that works for you.

Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can treat you without a referral

Need physical therapy without a referral near you? With Agile Virtual Physical Therapy, quality care is always nearby. Our team is credentialed in 45 states, meaning there is a great chance we can serve you. We offer a comprehensive set of services online, and our clinicians are trained to offer expert feedback in a responsive manner, so your treatment can stay on track.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.