The Problem with Physical Therapy

Those of you that know me personally know that I hold physical therapists in a very high regard. I’m fascinated by the education they receive. They truly are the only profession that is taught how we move, and expected to be able to apply their knowledge in a way to manipulate human movement in the interest of health.

Unfortunately, recently I’ve been hearing from several people that have gone to multiple physical therapists with no luck. I don’t want to throw physical therapists under the bus, but it’s frustrating when I ask people what they did at physical therapy and the answer comes back “Ice, stim, and stretches” every time. Stretching I’m okay with. Ice and stim treat symptoms, not causes.

If these modalities don’t provide long-term results, then why do PTs use them? Simple. Insurance! PTs are given a very limited number of visits to make someone feel better. Ice and stim reduce pain rapidly, so people feel better. The underlying problem is likely still lingering (unless a little rest was really all someone needed), but they feel better, which is pretty important.

But there needs to be a happy medium. Something between treating symptoms and treating the cause. Of course, the best way to treat an injury is to avoid it altogether. I’ve spent countless hours reading physical therapy texts to try to improve my understanding of human movement for just that reason. If you can spot movement abnormalities before people get hurt, you can probably save them the hassles of rehabilitation.

My next post will have the program I put together for the girl with patellofemoral syndrome and chondromalacia. Stay tuned!

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