Doctor Referrals Not Needed in Wisconsin

Did you know?

Wisconsin allows direct access to physical therapy…

Many people think a physician referral is required for physical therapy.  Some states, including Wisconsin, allow patients to access physical therapy directly.

According to Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association, “direct access” is defined as:

The right of the public to directly access physical therapists for evaluation, examination, and intervention. In other words, a member of the public does not need to secure a referral from a physician or other health care practitioner in order to receive physical therapy services. The public is best served when access is unrestricted.

In Wisconsin, the law allows the public to access physical therapy directly in most instances. An individual who has been diagnosed by a physician with a neurological or medical condition who seeks physical therapy services to treat the condition, by law may directly access a physical therapist. Additionally, an individual who has experienced a musculoskeletal injury (with or without a diagnosis by a physician) may access a physical therapist directly for care of the injury or condition. In the event that the physical therapist suspects that an acute bone fracture or tendon rupture has occurred, the physical therapist must refer the patient to another appropriate health care provider (such as an orthopedic physician) before initiating physical therapy treatment. Finally, the public may consult a physical therapist directly to receive guidance in physical conditioning, injury prevention techniques, and a variety of other services. 

Learn more from the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association 

Professionals at Spinal Dynamics of Wisconsin and our Body Dynamics Division are members of the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Association.  Learn more about us at

How do patients get to us?

Physician Referral…

Most patients come to Spinal Dynamics upon referral from a physician, or other health professional such as a chiropractor, physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner, or dentist. Annually, over 200 physicians across Southeastern Wisconsin trust us with the care of their patients. If your physician doesn’t know about our clinic, give us a call and we will gladly contact them and, if needed, help facilitate a referral. You are also welcome to contact us if you are in need of a physician for medical or insurance reasons. We will be happy to assist you in finding a physician that we believe would be well aligned to help you.

Referral from a Friend…

We appreciate that every month patients come to us upon referral by a friend or former patient. We are grateful that our patients spread the word about us. If you send us a patient…be sure we know…so we can thank you!

Direct Access…

Since in the State of Wisconsin, patients are not legally required to see a physician before coming to physical therapy, many patients come directly to us. As experienced physical therapists, we have the ability to evaluate you and quickly initiate treatment for your musculoskeletal injury or condition. Since some health insurance policies (such as Medicare), still require physician referrals for physical therapy, we advise you to check with your policy – or call our office and we can assist you.