You asked, we listened! Click here to read the Top 10 Things Your Therapist Wants You To Know based on the most common questions we get and concerns patients have. As activities start to ramp up for the summer, we want you to know what to expect from physical therapy if you should sustain an injury.
1. Help Me Help You
We are not here to “fix” you. We can help you achieve your goals, but it will take work and dedication on your part as well. Performing your daily exercises and listening to advice will help you get better faster. If a doctor wrote a prescription for you to take medication 1x/day and you only took it 2x/week, you wouldn’t get better. Think of your PT prescription the same way!
2. We Are Medical Professionals First
Don’t be surprised when we ask you for a full medical history. As Doctors of Physical Therapy we are trained to look at the body as a whole. We will do a full screen, which may even include taking your blood pressure or heart rate. You might think that your back pain is just a pulled muscle, but there can be many factors that contribute to your pain: stress, diet, lifestyle, and your full medical history (including that surgery you didn’t think was relevant!) can all be important in figuring out the best way to treat your pain.
3. Trust the Process
There are no quick fixes. Musculoskeletal dysfunction can be complex and you are not going to see a change over night. Strength and mobility take time to build. Like a good diet, time and consistency are the most successful factors.
4. We Are Not Personal Trainers
Many people are surprised by the “easy” exercises they do in PT. There are 2 important things to remember: 1. You don’t have to lift heavy just to make exercise hard. If you focus on form and the muscles you are trying to engage, you would be surprised how much more difficult a simple exercise can be. 2. Our primary goal is to help you with your injuries and to provide exercises that promote collagen/tissue healing. Sometimes the exercises that promote collagen healing aren’t “hard” when compared to typical gym exercises, but the goals are very different.
5. We Are Not Massage Therapists
Part of your rehab may include soft tissue mobilization, but don’t confuse this with a massage. We’re not trying to do a deep tissue massage. The point of the soft tissue work is to calm down your nervous system to open a window of opportunity so that you will be able to tolerate and perform your exercises better immediately afterwards. Study after study shows a combination of manual therapy and exercise is always superior to manual therapy alone.
6. There Are No Cookie Cutter Programs
Every person and every injury is different, which is why we spend so much time evaluating you and your pain at your visits. Do not compare yourself to your friends that have had the same injuries. They don’t have your same genetic makeup, same lifestyle, or same medical history. We will prescribe treatment that will vary on a day to day basis depending on how you are progressing. It’s important to give us feedback on your exercises so we know if we need to change something!
7. Please Come To Your Appointments On Time
We try to spend as much 1:1 time with our patients as possible. When you come late, we will cut our 1:1 time short. It’s not fair to other patients that come on time if we push our schedules back to accommodate tardiness. We want you to get the most out of your sessions, so utilize your time wisely!
8. Don’t Go Down the Google Rabbit Hole
The internet is an amazing and terrible place. It’s important to be informed about injuries, but remember that stress/anxiety can make pain worse. We’re always happy to answer questions you may have and can direct you to appropriate websites for more information.
9. We Might Work On An Area That is Different Than Where Your Pain Is
Sometimes pain can be “referred”, or coming from a different location. A common example is leg pain/numbness that is actually coming your back. We may do a lot of treatment on your back and minimal treatment on your leg. Our goal is to get to the source, not just the symptom of the pain.
10. We Can Work With Your Insurance Limitations
There are 1000s of insurance plans out there, and they all have different benefits. We do the best we can to verify your insurance, but ultimately, it is the patient’s responsibility to know their own benefits. If your insurance has limited PT visits, we can work with you to get the most out of your treatments. We also have other options if your insurance runs out, such as self pay visits, or if appropriate, transitioning you to a recommended personal trainer, or one of our injury prevention programs.