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"I have a physical therapy prescription that's over 6 months old. Can I still use it? "


Last summer I went to the doctor with pains in my chest. I'm young, a runner, and my primary care physician thought it was strain in the muscle around my ribs and that physical therapy would be a good option. Being busy and young, the pain going in and out, I still haven't used my prescription. Can I still use it so many months later? Or do I have to pay another visit to my primary physician?


If the prescription does not have an expiration date on it and the reason for which the prescription for physical therapy was written in the first place still applies, then you should be able to use it without problems. You can also clarify this with any number of physical therapy offices. Physical therapy is often very helpful in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries.

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However, musculoskeletal problems that last for several months should prompt some thought about the cause of your pains. Often, exercise or other strenuous activity that occurs after periods of relative inactivity causes muscle pain; if you are exercising regularly and are feeling muscle pains on a rather consistent basis, then perhaps a session with a personal trainer would also be helpful. He/she may be able to identify any potentially harmful movements in your exercise routine or running form that may be contributing to your pains. Additionally, if there is any concern that this pain is different from the pain you suffered when you saw your primary care physician, you should be re-evaluated by your doctor. If you have any risk factors for heart disease (such as high blood pressure, smoking, family history of early heart disease, for example) and you are still having chest pain, you should see your primary care physician for further evaluation.

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