PHYSICAL THERAPY IS FOR EVERYONE!
The transition to the doctorate degree in physical therapy has initiated a shift from healer to that of helper and often times it is misunderstood what a physical therapist actually does. I like to consider myself a helper or more appropriately guider if there is such a word. I am here to tell you about the one-to-one model of physical therapy, its immense value and how it can help everyone.
Physical Therapists give you a patient-centered approach.
Some physical therapists practice a one-to-one model of patient care. This means you are the only patient they focus on during the entire time you are present. This allows for an intimate understanding of your goals and a thorough understanding of your injury/illness. Tired of less than 20 minutes of treatment from your healthcare provider? Seek a physical therapist who will gratefully give you 45-60 minutes of time.
Physical Therapists provide you with the tools to manage your injury/illness and not a “quick fix”.
Physical therapists like to assess the root cause of your problem. Sure, your spine may be out of alignment, but why? And why does it continue to happen? And most importantly, how can we prevent it from happening again? Physical therapists will provide a thorough evaluation of the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal system and determine why the injury/illness happened in the first place and how we can prevent it from recurring. Instead of coming back every time your back goes out, what if you had the tools to limit your episodes of back pain? And in the event low back symptoms return, what if you had the tools and knowledge to manage the symptoms on your own? It is possible.
Physical Therapists can help eliminate your risk for or at least limit the progression of many disabling injuries.
Don’t let that small pain turn into a bigger problem down the road. Physical therapists can assist you in preventing rotator cuff injuries, osteoporosis, disc herniations, and many other major, life changing injuries. I wish I could see everyone in their teens, as I know this would prevent many progressive postural related concerns as people start to age.
Physical Therapists may help you eliminate or delay the need for invasive surgery or inappropriate use of medication.
Through innovative manual therapy techniques, posture and body mechanic education, exercise specific to pain relief and other modalities, you may be able to manage your injury to delay or all together avoid surgery and pain medication.
Physical Therapists can provide you with more than just a few generic exercises.
There is an old-school thought of “do these 15 exercises everyday for 6 months” and you will feel slightly better. Welcome to the new school of physical therapy. Soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, lumbar stabilization, stretches for isolated flexibility, corrective exercise to promote alignment, postural correction, education on appropriate body mechanics, positioning to optimize sleep, ergonomic assessments of your home and work station as well as for your car seat, and guidance for other important self care skills.
There is value in the services a physical therapist can provide, if they are delivered in an effective and patient-centered model. Look to a physical therapist to guide and assist you throughout your entire recovery or to educate you on limiting the progression of an injury. Don’t look for the physical therapist to quickly heal you without an effort on your part to take an active approach in your own health and wellness.
Jessica Dufault is a licensed physical therapist, a certified athletic trainer and a co-owner of Mindful Motion Physical, LLC in Madison, Wisconsin.
These are the thoughts and opinions of the author and they do not constitute medical advice. For advice on medical issues you should always consult your local medical practitioner.