White Paper

Breaking Tradition: A New Model for Physical Therapy

Prolonged physical therapy and its excessive resulting spend is unintentionally encouraged by the traditional care model – too many visits, overutilization, and treating unrelated pain are just some of the side effects.

White Paper Summary

The traditional model of physical therapy is built on the patient-first principles of finding solutions to treat injured workers; however, it is marked by inefficiencies that can hinder patients from achieving maximum medical improvement (MMI). By outlining the pitfalls of the typical therapy model, industry professionals can bridge the gap between patients’ perception of pain and a successful treatment plan by clearly outlining the distinction between objective and subjective pain. In addition, they can give their patients the opportunity to reach MMI and return to work sooner – a benefit for all stakeholders.

In the workers’ compensation realm, pain is a seemingly universal concept that has two polar definitions.

  • Objective Pain: Also known as “good pain,” this is the pain experienced during treatment that leads to overall physical improvement. For example, the pain experienced after a rigorous physical therapy session is considered objective pain because it strengthens the injured muscle and surrounding tendons, ligaments, etc. to eventually achieve increased mobility.
  • Subjective Pain: Also known as “bad pain,” this is pain detrimental to one’s wellbeing. An example would be the initial pain felt immediately after a sprain, cut or injury occurs.


To learn more about CorVel, please visit their website.

CorVel is a national provider of risk management solutions for employers, third party administrators, insurance companies and government agencies seeking to control costs and promote positive outcomes.

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]