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Is That Something You Do?

I get that question a lot or some version of it..."Is that something you do?" What this tells me is that most people don't really have a clue what physical therapist do or what/how they treat. Many people also don't know the difference between a physical therapist, chiropractor and a personal trainer. For those that care to know, I am going to explain what is something I do.


A physical therapist is often times thought of when someone is post-surgery or post-traumatic event like a stroke. Many times PTs are thought of as someone that grandma sees. Your doctor orders it for you and they either come to your house or you go to the clinic 2-3x per week. That type of PT does exist and is probably most prevalent.


I mean just google "physical therapy" and look at the images that come up (see above). None of that is what I do. There are other types of PTs that want to capture you before you have the surgery and want to work with the athletic population. This is where I fall in. My mission is to capture the relatively healthy, somewhat young, typically very active population. We hurt too. And many times, doctors just blow off that pain and send us home with steroids or pain medication knowing it will go away soon enough because we are healthy and active. And it is true, likely your pain will go away with enough time. However, what if you could accelerate that healing by doing the right things, working on the weakness, learning modifications and even learning some pain management techniques. What if you didn't have to have the pain as long? What if you didn't have to rest? This is what I like to call performance physical therapy. It bridges the gap between rehab (in a sterile, lay down on a mat and kick your leg up clinic) and the gym/court/field. The goal with performance physical therapy 3 steps:

1. calm down your pain

2. work on weakness, make your tissue more resilient

3. test your body in chaos

As a performance PT, we don't just care about WHAT hurts, but WHAT it stops you from doing. Many PTs can get your pain to go away and even get you stronger. But if pressing overhead remains limited then you aren't better. If push-ups aggravate your shoulder, you aren't better. Just because "you can do most things" doesn't mean you are better. But it is hard to find a PT clinic that will work with you on these more advanced things- that is because they just don't know how (not something we are taught in school) or insurance restricts them from working that far with you (either due to time/visit constraints or justification of the need for PT).


Many people think when they get hurt, go to the doctor. This is a viable option however, doctors are trained to screen for the big things. They are the gate keeper. From there, it should be send you home, send you to a PT or send you to a specialist. Of course, I would choose option 2 go to a PT. But many times this is not where the doctor's mindset is. Physical therapists (most of them) have doctorate degrees and just about all of them who graduated in the last 10 years have a doctorate degree. This means 7 years of school to learn about the human body and study movement and exercise. PTs are trained at this level so that we can be and become the first line of defense with musculoskeletal injuries. Study after study shows we, PTs, can save people thousands of dollars by being their go-to for pain and injuries. A big worry is what if it is something bigger or more serious than just a minor injury? Again, that's what the 7 years of school comes in. We are trained to watch for "red flags" or signs and symptoms that we recognize make this injury outside of our scope of practice. A good PT will pick up on this and refer you to the right specialist/doctor.


So what does all this really mean? Physical therapists are someone that can assess your movements, listen to what you have to say about your pain and determine the likely culprit. From there we can develop a plan- how many times to see you and what you need to do in between to get better.


So what is something I do? Watch the way you move, test possible reasons for that altered movement/pain and give you a plan to get better!


Still not sure if PT is something that can help you? That's fair because sometimes you just don't know. That's why Body Fix 180 offers discovery calls- it's free and you get to talk to the PT about your issue. From that we can determine if Body Fix 180 is a good fit for you or if you need something/someone else.

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