So this may be more of a soap box than anything else but here goes: I recently read an entry from a website called Forward Thinking PT and their article titled “When will they quit viewing Physical Therapy as an intervention?” This title struck a chord with me because I think in many cases, it is true.
We often have patients sent to us from an MD with an order on which a diagnosis is written and PT’s follow the “orders”. It is true that many of our patients come to us because they are having pain and they are seeking help in resolving this. I love this and have no issue with this as helping people resolve their orthopedic issues is what I do as a PT. What is not true is that PT is just an intervention. An intervention is an injection, a prescription for a medicine, or an extension of the MD to decrease the pain. People should not seek out PT just because they were told to do so, but to use our extensive training in how to figure out why a person is having their specific pain and how to resolve it as well as educate a person on how to keep this pain from returning. I think (although very biased) people should seek out a PT as they would seek out an MD. They should find someone who they can trust, who they can work with, who they know will help them get back to whatever it is they may not be able to do as well as they used to.
We are highly educated people who are biomechanics specialists. We are really good at hearing what you are having trouble with (an area of pain, or maybe its because their running form is off, or a child has gone through a growth spurt and now their strength and movement patterns have changed and they need help restoring this) and then developing a plan specific to the individual to resolve the problem and restore their function (function could be climbing a flight of stairs or function could be running a marathon, it is individualized). Also, in case you did not know, in the state of Minnesota, you can refer yourself to a PT without a doctor’s orders. So if you have a pain, or have something you would like to get back to doing and are having a hard time, we at OSI would love to talk with you and build a partnership with you to get back to doing the things you like to do.