Ever Wonder: How Much Does Physical Therapy Cost? There’s No Simple Answer

If you’re recovering from an injury or a surgery—or even if you’re just trying to prevent an injury or a surgery—a visit to Physical Therapist might be just what you need. Physical therapy uses conservative and non-invasive treatment methods to focus on body mechanics, ergonomics, and fitness. It can be highly effective for pain relief, facilitation of healing, and restoration of function. But how much does physical therapy cost?

Well, it depends. What is your illness or injury? How severe is it? And perhaps most importantly, do you have insurance?


How Much Does Physical Therapy Cost?

A good insurance plan will be happy to cover physical therapy because it’s so cost-effective compared to surgical alternatives or long-term reliance on prescription pain killers. You’ll want to check with your insurance company before scheduling any appointments, but you’ll likely be on the hook for a copay of $10 to $75 per session and possibly 10–50% for coinsurance.

Without insurance, it gets more complicated. Depending on the treatment you need, total costs can range from a few hundred dollars for an evaluation and a treatment or two, to many thousands of dollars for long-term care with several sessions per week.

Physical therapy treatments might involve joint manipulation, treadmill work, massage, electrical stimulation, and self-care training. The list of possibilities can seem endless, and the cost of different procedures varies widely.

Additionally, the number of sessions required depends very much on your individual circumstances. A minor sports injury might involve a consultation and a prescription for exercises that you can perform on your own. But if you’ve been in a major accident, that could mean several hands-on sessions per week for many months to treat multiple problem areas. That’s when you’ll be glad you had that insurance!


Additional Physical Therapy Expenses

In addition to sessions with your Physical Therapist, you might need to shell out a bit more cash for equipment. Recommended physical therapy equipment could include balance boards, exercise balls, resistance bands, or even an exercise rail system.

These items might seem pricey at first glance, but when you compare them to the cost of visiting your PT, you can save a good deal of money by having this equipment in your own home.


How Much Does Not Having Physical Therapy Cost?

When you ask yourself the question, “How much does physical therapy cost?” you also need to consider the alternative. Spending $1,000 on preventative physical therapy visits to strengthen and heal an aching back is a bargain compared with $30,000 for back surgery. Working with a PT on a specific range of motion and maybe picking up a device for knee pain relief sure beats thousands of dollars on prescription pills and possibly a bonus opioid addiction.


How Can You Reduce the Cost of Physical Therapy?

If you don’t have insurance that covers physical therapy and you need to pay out of pocket, there are a few things you can try:

  • Clinics will often let you negotiate a reduced rate in exchange for upfront cash payments.
  • Low- or no-cost physical therapy may be available in your area from community clinics or healthcare learning facilities. Ask your hospital caseworker or physician’s office for referrals.
  • Be a good patient! Following your PT’s instructions will speed the pace of recovery and require fewer visits in the long run.
  • Once you’ve been trained in the proper exercises, continue them at home. You don’t need to overdo it, but you don’t need to wait for pricey visits to your PT.