How to select the right physical therapist for your neck pain, back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac pain or tailbone pain?
With a physical therapy clinic on every corner these days, it’s a little confusing for the average person to know where the best place is to find relief of their pain.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about what sets Spine PT apart from ALL the other physical therapy clinics and why patients travel from all over the state and even from other states, to come see us when they have lots of physical therapy clinics right in their own town.
What conditions can a physical therapist treat?
Physical therapists are much like a family physician that sees many different conditions. Legally, all physical therapists are licensed to treat any injury to the body. That means they can treat things like: plantar fasciitis, a pulled hamstring, a torn meniscus in your knee, a total knee replacement, hip pain, urinary incontinence, a frozen shoulder, tennis/golf elbow, back/neck pain, helping someone learn to walk again after a stroke or traumatic brain injury, treating vertigo, etc. The list goes on and on with hundreds of different conditions that physical therapy can treat.
Each of these conditions requires extensive knowledge to know how to help someone get better. Would you consider having your family physician do open heart surgery on you? Probably not. I’m guessing you would choose to see a heart surgeon who operates on hearts all day, every day because he/she is an expert, and your chances of success are much higher. When it comes to treating that chronic back or neck pain, do you really want to see a physical therapist spends 70% of his day working with marathon runners because he has specialized in gait and running injuries? While this therapist is licensed and can legally treat the spine, he might only see a couple spine patients a week.
Therapists are small business owners and don’t want to turn any potential business away – especially if they have a referring doctor who wants to be able to send all his/her therapy patients to the same clinic out of convenience. The big concern with this scenario is the patient has no idea that they are going to a less experienced and qualified therapist. They assume that therapy is exactly the same at any physical therapy clinic. When that person doesn’t improve, they mistakenly believe that physical therapy didn’t work, and their only option is surgery. This is very sad because therapy does work, they just didn’t go to the right physical therapist.
Time with each Patient
Insurance companies have forced changes to physical therapy, just as they have with physicians. Gone are the days where your family doctor will sit down with you for 30 minutes to fully hear your health concerns. Same with physical therapy. Most physical therapy clinics have their therapists see 2-3 patients/hour. To be able to do this without you feeling too neglected, clinics will hire high school kids “aides” to sit with patients while the patient performs some general warm up exercises or the aide may connect the patient to heat, electrical stimulation or use something like ultrasound. These things do almost nothing to help people heal and are merely time fillers so they can bill your insurance for more things without the therapist spending much time with you.
Another favorite game the insurance companies like to play is denying certain treatments or they won’t let a therapist do 2 similar treatments in the same visit – even though the patient needs both treatments. This makes it extremely difficult to provide the right treatment for each patient when each insurance company sets their own unique rules.
I love chess and was excited to play with a Russian chess champion when I was attending the University of Moscow in Moscow, Russia back in 1992. In the middle of the game, the girl made an illegal move with one of her pieces. I laughed and told her she couldn’t move that way. She informed me that she could because it was a legal move in Russia. How do you play against an opponent that is playing by different rules than you play by? Billing insurance often feels like you are playing chess with a dozen different people all at the same time AND each of these people are playing by different rules.
Spine PT is a Specialized Clinic that ONLY Treats Pain Conditions of the Spine
At Spine PT, we ONLY treat pain conditions related to the spine. If you have scoliosis with no pain but want to try and correct the curve of the spine, we will refer you to another physical therapy clinic that specializes in correction of the scoliosis. If you have scoliosis AND have pain, we can get you out of pain. Scoliosis often gets blamed for pain in the spine but 9 out of 10 times, the pain is only from a pinched nerve. We see lots of patients with the exact same pinched nerve and they don’t have scoliosis.
The therapists at Spine PT have received advanced, post graduate training in the spine in the most current pain-relieving methods. These courses are very costly for that average physical therapist to afford so only the therapists who are passionate about the spine will pay for them.
We have refused to let insurance companies dictate to us what we can do for our patients. We only work with one patient at a time and spend approximately 60-90 minutes each patient. Our therapists actually listen to their patients, and this is why we have such great success getting people out of pain so quickly.
Come experience for yourself a more advanced, patient-centered approach to physical therapy. You’ll be amazed and glad you called!