According to NC state law you do not need a referral to be evaluated and treated by a Physical Therapist. Physical Therapists are trained to screen for and recognize pathologies outside their scope of practice and refer to the appropriate medical professional.
Get the Treatment You Need
Direct Access allows you to receive the treatment you need without additional costs or delaying treatment. Examples of typical problems our Physical Therapists address through Direct Access are:
Back & Joint Pain
Weakness & Deconditioning
“Experienced physical therapists had higher levels of knowldedge in managing musculoskeletal conditions than medical students, physician interns and residents, and all physician specialists except for orthopaedists.”
As of January 1, 2015, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands allow patients to seek some level of treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a prescription or referral from a physician. However, in many jurisdictions, such treatment is limited by arbitrary restrictions in state law. These restrictions do not recognize the professional training and expertise of the licensed physical therapist, nor do they serve the needs of those patients who require physical therapy but whose care is unnecessarily interrupted or prevented by these restrictions. (http://www.apta.org/StateIssues/DirectAccess/)