Physical Therapy: When to See a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapy and when to see a physical therapist can be confusing. How do you know when to see a doctor, a specialist, a chiropractor, a massage therapist or just wait for the pain to go away or become more tolerable?
Physical Therapy - the Basics
Physical therapists (PTs) are experts in the movement of the body with a focus on the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues). Doctors of Physical Therapy are required to complete a four year bachelors degree followed by three years in an accredited program to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. The physical therapists at Breaking Through are all doctors in the sense that they have received their DPT degree, but they are not physicians, doctors of medicine, M.D.s or D.O.s. Much like a chiropractor is a doctor in that they have received their Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Chiropractor vs. Physical Therapist
Physical therapy, as we know it, was first developed in the United States in the 1900's to help patients recovering from polio and provide rehabilitation for the soldiers coming home from war. Even today many people associate physical therapy and PTs with a health service prescribed by a doctor for patient rehabbing from an injury, a fall or post-surgery. In many cases this is true. Most conventional physical therapy patients are aged over 65. It can also account for why 70% of respondents in a recent study thought you needed a physicians referral to see a physical therapist. However, you do not need a referral to see our physical therapists because our care is paid for outside of your insurance plan. We do not consider ourselves "conventional physical therapists." Unfortunately, the field of physical therapy and how it is practiced has remained relatively stagnant for the past four decades and conventional PT is ineffective. Our patients get better results in fewer sessions than conventional PT.
Different Types of Physical Therapy
Types of physical therapy and variations of physical therapist specialties are vast and increasing as PTs start seeing more success in becoming ultra-specialized in specific injuries, sports, occupations or modalities (method of treatment i.e. dry needling, nerve stimulation, ultrasound, etc.). The American Board of Physical Therapist Specialties (ABPTS) is the primary professional board that manages specialist certification for physical therapists. The ABPTS offers ten specialties including: Cardiovascular & Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Oncology, Women’s Health, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics and Sports. At Breaking Through our PT clinic is devoted to enhancing the health of our patients through movement and enhanced function. Our care could fall into these following PT categories:
- Pediatric physical therapy, is a physical therapy to help children with slowed growth, manage acute injuries and help to increase mobility and movement. Dr. Josh Palcic, one of our clinic's founders, got his start working in pediatric physical therapy and continues to help his pediatric patients that have developmental delays, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, scoliosis and brain injuries. Once these patients are no longer children, many pediatric physical therapists stop treating them. At that point they would be seen by a neurological physical therapist. Dr. Josh stays with his patients and continues to treat them into adulthood - a comfort for many of his patients that value the stability of maintaining the relationship.
- Neurological physical therapy treats patients with conditions of the nervous and spinal systems by improving mobility and how a person functions in day-to-day life. Conditions could include brain or spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and cerebral palsy. With regular physical therapy sessions we reduce motor defects and help to improve function.
3. Sports physical therapy, is a physical therapy practice that focuses on the health care management of the injured athlete to return them to their athletic activities. Many PTs that practice in this field will work directly with a professional sports team or at the collegiate or olympic level. At the Breaking Through PT clinic we work individually with many younger athletes (in the middle school, high school and collegiate level) as well as the recreational athlete. Our PTs use a system that continuously proves to get fast results for our patients with sports injuries and keep our athletes from further injuries through strengthening and activating muscles. You will not get a sports rehab plan to include ice, rest, boots and braces at Breaking Through. Instead you can expect one-on-one treatment, customized strength-building exercises and a personalized sports rehab plan.
4. Orthopedic physical therapy is a physical therapy specialty that focuses on the musculoskeletal system and injuries to ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. (What Is an Orthopedic Physical Therapist? WebMD). Although our Breaking Through PTs have not been certified for this specialized distinction, as doctors of physical therapy we provide care in the following areas an orthopedic physical therapist would specialize in: neck or back pain, work injuries or accidents, sports injuries or accidents, post-orthopedic surgery recoveries, knee conditions, foot and ankle conditions, shoulder conditions and hip conditions. In addition, an orthopedic physical therapist is similar in that we both focus on functionality and perform physical movements with our patients during each session to help educate and strengthen our patients in order to help them restore movement in less sessions.
WHAT THEY SAY...
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