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What If We Told You That Not All Physical Therapy is Created Equal?

Setting: Orthopedic MD office.  You have just had an x-ray that came back clear (no breaks, hallelujah), medicine hasn’t helped the pain, and the MD enters the room:

MD:  Hi (insert your name here), everything looks clear on the x-ray and you still have pain so I think it might be time to try some therapy to see if we can get you better.

You: Ok, we can try

MD: Great.  I’m going to get you set up with the clinic across the hall.  I’ll send the referral over.  They use the same computer system and can talk to me anytime.

You: Alright.

*TIME OUT* Did you see what just happened?  I would guess most of you didn’t. What just happened is that the MD referred you to a clinic that they might have ownership,instead of suggest PT anywhere of your choosing.  Unsure how that matters?  A study1 assessed 3,771 patients with total knee replacements and the outcomes of therapy. Individuals that attended therapy at a clinic owned by physicians on average attended twice as many visits (approx. 8 more) and tended to receive less intense and specific treatment.  How does saving time and $320 sound? (based off $40/visit copay). Pretty good right?  Perhaps that referral isn’t based off care but based off self interest? I’m not saying but I’m just saying.

Bonus Riddle:  We’ve heard so many individuals voice their concern regarding visits to see their physician in which they actually see the PA. “I want to see the surgeon.” “I’m paying for the MD, not the PA.”  Common things I hear from patients in the clinic, as well as just in discussion with people.  It might be the most common thing after “is popping ok?”  So if it seems to be common thread that people want to see the MD and not the PA, why do people seem to constantly go along with therapy services in which they see commonly 5 different clinicians (PTs, PTAs, Athletic Trainers) in 6 visits?  Perhaps the thought is “that is just how it is” and the idea is that you just can’t do anything about it.

I’m here with great news! The grass is greener on the other side. While many clinics may have this scenario, there is something better.  At Greensboro Physical Therapy,we strive to bring you in with the same Doctor of Physical Therapy and keep you with them during your entire treatment.  We want to be your DPT for life!  We pride ourselves in getting to know you, your goals, your worries and more.  This you-centered focus allows us to get you where you need to be (apparently faster and better per research).

So if you’ve had that conveyor belt, bouncing around experience before and want something more, Greensboro Physical Therapy waits for you.   You have a choice, we hope you choose us.

1 Use of Physical Therapy Following Total Knee Replacement Surgery: Implications of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Ownership of Physical Therapy Services Jean M. Mitchell Ph.D. James D. Reschovsky Ph.D. Elizabeth Anne Reicherter P.T., D.P.T., Ph.D.

One Annual Health Checkup That’s Probably Missing from Your Calendar

Some health habits are instilled in us at a young age. For as long as you can remember, for example, you made annual treks in the family minivan to both the pediatrician and the dentist. As you entered adulthood, you probably transitioned to a primary care physician, and maybe even a different dentist better equipped to address adult needs. Anytime you’ve moved or switched insurance carriers, one of your first priorities has been to track down new providers. Now you may even choose to schedule visits more than once a year, when necessary. You probably figure that between the two healthcare professionals, all of your health needs are covered, right?

As it turns out, these healthcare professionals aren’t specifically trained to assess your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues. Then who is the right healthcare professional to ensure that these essential internal structures are working properly and helping to support, stabilize and move your body? A physical therapist.

At a yearly physical therapy “checkup,” your PT will gather your medical history and observe as you participate in screening tests and other assessments to establish a baseline of your physical abilities, fitness level and personal health. Physical therapists are educated on how your musculoskeletal system functions properly and are trained to identify dysfunctions before they grow into bigger problems. To maximize the encounter with your physical therapist, it’s important to be prepared before your appointment.

To ensure that you cover everything and address any issues you may be having, make a list that includes:
• Health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure
• Current medications, including supplements
• Physical fitness activities
• New activities you’re considering
• Fitness goals

The information exchange between you and your PT is critical to forming an ongoing relationship, and to ensuring that you’re functioning and moving at top form. By understanding what sports and recreational activities you’re currently participating in and the fitness goals you’re aiming to achieve, your PT will be better prepared to make recommendations and tailor a home exercise program designed to help you achieve your goals.

Making wellness a part of your everyday life and taking steps to ensure that your musculoskeletal system is functioning at top notch can be very empowering and rewarding. Why not begin—or continue—that journey with a physical therapist? Now that you know how to prepare for a physical therapy checkup, and understand what you can expect during the appointment, the next step is to call us and schedule your annual visit (or your 1st).