Chances are you have a barber, a mechanic, a plumber, an electrician, a handyman, a dentist, and, hopefully, a primary care doctor. So why don’t you have a physical therapist?
As our healthcare system continues to change and evolve it is more important now, than ever, that you get yourself a physical therapist; a go-to professional for all your musculoskeletal issues and regular wellness and injury prevention visits, similar to your annual or twice-yearly visits to your dentist. You as a consumer are going to be responsible for an increasing amount of your own healthcare costs, having your own personal physical therapist will help you keep those costs from increasing.
Let’s start with why is it important to have a primary care doctor. People need an expert to oversee all aspects of their health and make sure that they and their doctor are aware of everything that’s going on. When people are young and healthy this may not seem important, but ask anyone who is under medical care and on a few medications, or has needed more advanced care, and the fact that the individual has an established relationship with his primary care MD is an important aspect of his wellbeing
Your relationship with your physical therapist should mirror this relationship. You want someone who knows your complete injury history, plus all your goals and what you enjoy doing, as well as how doing those things fits into the rest of your lifestyle. Too often people look at physical therapy similar to a course of antibiotics for treating an infection, where, once they’ve finish the course of treatment, they’re done.
The problem with that is the body’s musculoskeletal system doesn’t work that way. Just because the pain is gone doesn’t mean the injury or the cause of the injury is gone. Moreover, when an area hurts, the cause of the pain and/or problem could be located somewhere else. For instance, an ankle sprain that happens now, can easily cause knee-pain when running two years from now. Or current low-back pain could easily be from a shoulder injury that was incurred a few years ago, but is still being compensated for today. This is why it’s important to have a personal physical therapist; someone that you have a relationship with and who knows everything about you.
Bodies are in a constant state of change and adaptation. Depending on the demands placed on it, the body will develop various compensations and imbalances, and as those demands change and/or evolve they can present new challenges. Also, people often try new things, or get back into old hobbies, and sometimes the physical changes that have occurred to a person due to time and a combination of other demands placed on their body, can leave them predisposed to injury. This is why those semi-annual visits are so important. They can bring to light newly vulnerable areas and how to work with them, preventing unnecessary injury. It is also why having regular visits with your personal PT is key, because he or she will be able to compare how you moved six months ago with how you move now – or after that last ankle sprain, or the last time your back was bothering you.
At Feldman Physical Therapy and Performance, this is exactly the relationship we build with each and every one of our patients and is why we never discharge a patient. You should get discharged from a hospital, not physical therapy. Discharge means you hope to never go back, which in, the case of the hospital is accurate, but not so with PT. Our goal is that we become each of our patients’ personal physical therapists, and that they look forward to their next visit!