When you’re struggling with pain a good physical therapist (PT) is a must-have! You can ask your doctor, your friends and even crowdsource on the internet, but how do you go about finding someone you can truly trust who actually knows what they’re doing and can help you and your specific issue?
We suggest taking these recommendations and then doing a little more digging yourself to find out more about the recommended physical therapist.
Here’s what to look for:
You want someone who will spend one-on-one time in the clinic with YOU. Your problem and your goals are important, so you want someone who’s invested in helping you achieve them. Avoid clinics where the PT is working with two, three, even four people at a time, because they’re multi-tasking and distracted. Data indicates that a greater percentage of actual one-on-one therapist time leads to better and faster results. Even if they tell you that you’ll “always be with someone” at their clinic, it could very well just be an assistant or a tech.
Find out their credentials. Have they taken time to advance their clinical practice? Look for someone who is a Doctor of Physical Therapy. Another important factor is their specialization of the body region you want them to assess. Just like medical doctors, a Doctor of Physical Therapy often specializes in specific body regions. To find this out, call the clinic and ask to speak with the provider you're considering. They should be able to provide clear answers to your questions and to speak with confidence about a given body region.
Look for someone you can develop a lasting relationship with. Just like you want your primary care doctor to help take care of you over the long-term, you want the same relationship with your PT. You want to feel comfortable addressing your muscle, joint, strength and balance concerns with them since you’re going to be living in your body for years to come and you’ll need them to provide the necessary tune-ups as they arise.
Now that you know who you’re looking for, here’s how to know when seeing a PT may be necessary:
When you need a specific muscle or joint ache or pain addressed. Physical therapists are musculoskeletal specialists who seek to guide those in pain back to an active lifestyle.
Pre-surgical care. Orthopedists often recommend seeking care before an orthopedic procedure to help your body to get into the best possible shape before your surgery to enhance your mobility and recovery afterward.
Post-surgical care. After surgery your orthopedist will order specific physical therapy treatment to help you reach the best outcome from your procedure.
When you’ve had a motor vehicle accident. Having neck or back pain following an accident is quite common. Many people struggle with pain for months and even years by ignoring the necessary rehab immediately after the accident.
After suffering a neurological injury or event. This could be a stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, MS and many others. Seeing a highly skilled PT can help you get back to as normal a life as possible.
Balance problems. Falls are a major cause of disability in aging adults and a PT can help tune up your balance system to prevent them.
Dizziness. A PT can help resolve your dizziness by addressing your vestibular system and providing specific exercises to target the issue.
During and after pregnancy. From managing back pain during pregnancy to helping you rebound afterward your PT can help you in a myriad of ways.
When you’re noticing difficulty with daily activities. Tasks that were once easy ten years ago may now be more challenging. Acting quickly can help keep more issues from developing down the road.
Prevention of issues. You don’t need to wait until you’re doubled over in pain to enlist your PT’s help! You probably visit your dentist twice a year for routine check-ups and it’s wise to check in with your PT to review the state of your muscle and joint system. A yearly assessment and tune-up are highly recommended.
As Doctors of Physical Therapy, Jen and I can offer you our expertise with everything I’ve written about here. We would love to help you achieve your goals to get and keep you in the game for the long run! You can call us at 720-320-4212, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Here’s to your best health!
Dr. Trish PT, DPT
Dr. Jen PT, DPT