Times are changing and so is our approach to helping you.
Our mission is to help you avoid medications, injections, and surgery you may not need. We want you to know about safe, effective and natural healing options. Not complicated -
right. That's really the goal of our entire healthcare system. It just doesn't work that way.
The Research - Physical Therapy is Your Best First Choice
If's not just us saying it. The research is clear. Most people by age 50 - including you - will develop pain in their ________________ at some point. The most common answers are:
Your Treatment Options
The research shows that when the average person with these problems goes to physical therapy first, they avoid treatment the don't need. With PT, you avoid the dangers of more complex treatments. Your added bonus is to save time and money.
In good physical therapy we use exercises to restore the strength and flexibility of the muscles around your problem area. Not just where it hurts. For a knee problem you get exercises and hands on "manual therapy" for your hip, ankle, and even core. This lets all the muscles absorb force so it's not concentrated on the degenerative area.
In the end, with good physical therapy, the pain, stiffness, and weakness are taken care of. You end up back to your normal activities.
Avoid the Traps
The MRI Trap: Many specialists will tell you to go to PT first. But they say you also have to fail PT before your insurance company will let them do an MRI to see what is wrong. Once they can see what is wrong they can fix it.
That's a bad place to start for 2 reasons.
First, you come in thinking PT won't work It's harder to do your home exercises. It's easier to miss appointments, and easier to quit before you've give it a real chance to work.
The second reason, in my opinion, mos of the time, you should run away from an MRI. The MRI that doesn't show something is the exception. It a trap because it makes sense. You have pain. You are show a picture of something wrong that causes pain. You take medications, get an injection, or have surgery to fix it - right? Not really!
The study that I think shows it the best is the fake surgery study. It was done in Europe. They took a group of people that had degenerative rotator cuff tears visible on an MRI. Half of the people they did surgery to and then sent them to PT. The other half they did fake surgery - just made the incisions but did nothing else. The fake surgery group also gets sent to therapy. Then 6 weeks later there is no difference between groups - they both improved. Fake surgery or real surgery followed by PT.
There are a lot of other studies for different conditions that show the same thing. If offered an MRI run - it will find something and you will be faced with medications, injections, or surgery you may not need.
The Insurance Company Trap: You spend a lot of up front money on insurance. They your insurance company only approves 6 physical therapy visits to get rid of back pain you've had for 12 months. Most insurance companies only approve 6 visits no matter what. If we argue for more we can usually get another 6 therapy visits approved.
The crazy thing is the amount of PT we get for people who have had surgery. It's not that you don't need it after surgery. But it's crazy - your insurance company spends to $5000 - $10,00 on surgery. Then they approve 24 PT visits. If they would have just approved more PT visits "BEFORE other treatments, many people would not have surgery, or injections, or end up taking medications.
Avoid the Traps: In the US, healthcare and health insurance favors new and complex medical procedures. On average, people that don't have back surgery do better than people that do. The same is true for many conditions.
Good physical therapy is a conservative treatment. In the end it will cost less. For many conditions most people do better over the long term with physical therapy.
Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee. Visit pptsm.com for more information. You can call the Hebron office at 860-228-4883 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can call the Colchester office at 860-537-3014 or send an email to email@example.com.