An important thing to understand is that in North Dakota there is direct access, meaning that you don’t need to go see your doctor before you come to physical therapy. Physical therapists are the experts in the musculoskeletal system and are one of your best resources when you first injure yourself. They can help you determine the extent of your injury, what steps forward you should take, and can now even refer you for an X-Ray if necessary, based on your injury. This can help speed up your recovery by getting the appropriate rehab started more efficiently.
Based on the extent of your injury/pain, a physical therapist might simply provide you with education to minimize swelling and give you a few basic exercises, and might lay out a therapy plan of care to help decrease pain and get you back to your prior level of function or refer you for further imaging and a second opinion.
It’s always better to see a physical therapist sooner than later when first injuring yourself, as appropriate care in the early stages of an injury usually helps get you back to what you were doing prior to injury sooner and with fewer setbacks.