Fyzical September 2018

What Changes and What Stays the Same How PT Has Evolved Over My 34-Year Career


hings have changed a lot since I entered the physical therapy field way back in

in a military hospital, where there simply wasn’t time for the prescriptive nonsense of civilian physical therapy. There, I began to form the foundation of the approach that I would develop over the years to come, which was based in evidence and analysis and tailored to each individual patient’s needs. By now, the game has changed, especially here at Fyzical El Paso. Now every technique we employ is based in pure science, from

1984. As the science behind the industry has evolved, so has our approach, shifting from a largely prescriptive, one-size-fits-all mode of treatment to a complex, creative art that truly

changes the lives of patients every day. Over the 34 years I’ve spent working with patients, I’ve learned more than I could ever put into words. And honestly, I think right now is a more exciting time to be a physical therapist than ever. When I started out, physical therapy was nowhere near as comprehensive and powerful as it is these days. Most patients were shuttled along a familiar treatment path. They’d go to their doctor, who would say, “Okay, you have back pain,” and then write out a prescription to hand to us therapists. They’d recommend the same thing for pretty much everybody: ultrasound, hot pad, and massage, maybe a few exercises here and there, and that was it. Physical therapists had little latitude when determining what was best for our patients, and we never really even got the chance to put our knowledge as movement experts to use in assessments or evaluations. And though this approach did achieve some results, they were few and far between when compared to the immense benefits patients reap today. Right away, I was frustrated with this strategy. To put it simply, it just wasn’t satisfying going through the motions, knowing that with my expertise, I could offer so much more to those suffering from chronic pain. I knew almost immediately that those techniques were not what I wanted to do with my entire career. Luckily, early on in my training, I had the chance to work

blood flow restriction and laser therapy to the specific manual therapy strategies we’ve honed over years of experience. It’s clear to me that the field will continue in this direction, as we learn even more about the science of the human body and functional movement, and as technology becomes more instrumental than we could ever have imagined. But no matter what happens, I’m confident that the art of manual therapy will never be wholly replaced — the level of results will always depend on the expertise and knowledge of the therapist. It’s a constantly shifting field, and it’s come a long way from where it was back in the ’80s, but of course, there’s always room to learn more. That’s why all of us at Fyzical El Paso are so dedicated to expanding our knowledge of the human body and how to treat it. We strive to improve the quality of care patients receive with every single visit to our clinic. We work at the cutting edge of the physical therapy field to ensure that patients achieve the most powerful, life-changing results possible, because when it comes down to it, our patients are the reason we do what we do. Whether it’s 2018 or 2028, we pledge to do all that we can for the people we serve.

–Louis Zuniga

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