Advanced Physical Therapy - April 2020

APRIL 2020



When each patient leaves our office, something I hope they understand is that the next time an area is feeling off or causing pain, they don’t need to wait to come see us. If you think about health care as a whole, it makes sense to get regular checkups: You go to the dentist twice a year, you visit your primary care doctor once a year, and you get your eyes checked biannually. Yet few people see their physical therapist once a year — and I’d like to change that. Why? Because the majority of injury and chronic pain I see is the result of something that could have been prevented if we had treated it earlier. Whether it’s due to a faulty movement pattern or restrictions, we can remedy many issues with physical therapy to prevent injury. I can’t tell you how many people I work with who come in with knee pain, and we find that it’s a restriction in their hip or ankle causing it. Restrictions in the body multiplied by performing a movement thousands of times a day over the course of a few years can cause serious issues. As a physical therapist, I can see clearly how the restriction caused the knee pain, and we need to address it to prevent the pain from coming back. In order for that to be successful, physical therapy should be sought early before the restriction or faulty movement pattern turns into an injury or necessitates surgery.

care doctor, we would have fewer injuries and surgeries, and less need for medication.

Even if you’re not experiencing pain, you can come get a screening once a year just to make sure everything is working well and identify any concerns. Connecticut is a Direct Access state, so you don’t need any referral from a doctor to come to physical therapy. When I think about where physical therapy is headed in the future, I believe the field is moving toward focusing more on movement and musculoskeletal care. Physical screens once a year will become the norm because we’ll better understand how crucial they are in keeping people active and healthy into their later years — without the need for surgery or medication. So, if you take anything away with you today, let it be this: The next time something comes up, don’t wait until you need surgery or medication to manage the pain. We’re here to prevent injuries, not just to help you get back to life after one. –Kevin Smith

If more people viewed their physical therapist as someone they go to routinely, as you do with your dentist and primary

“We’re here to prevent injuries, not just to help you get back to life after one.”

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