AN OFTEN OVERLOOKED ASPECT OF RECOVERY
It should go without saying that when you are looking for a physical therapist you want to find one with the credentials and the skill set to treat you effectively. However, what if I told you that the therapeutic alliance between client and provider may be equally important when it comes to improving pain outcomes? In simple terms, the therapeutic alliance is the interaction/connection between the physical therapist and the client. According to the research, there is substantial evidence supporting the improvement of pain and functioning based on a client's perception of the therapeutic working alliance. This client-centered care involves a shared belief between the two parties regarding goals, tasks, and treatments. In other words, the client is an active participant in all areas of treatment and the journey is a collaborative effort consisting of reciprocal communication between the two parties.
CONNECTION, EVIDENCE, & TRANSPARENCY
When your circumstance requires a physical therapist you may be tempted to select one based on the goal of getting fixed in the shortest amount of time. While that is a very common goal, it is not always realistic. Beware of promises to get you back to form in a short amount of time without seeing evidence-based reasoning. In the NY Times article, "What to Look for in a Physical Therapist" the author explains that shifts have taken place in the last couple of decades concerning techniques such as ultrasound, lasers, and electrotherapy. The article states that "those techniques have been set aside as the science has slowly accumulated that they don't accelerate healing." However, you will still find these techniques being used in a variety of clinics despite the outcomes of the research yielding almost no clinical benefits.
What are the most important aspects to look for when searching for a PT?
1. Physical therapists who use evidence-based treatment guidelines and scientific research in their practices It is perfectly appropriate to interview a PT to learn more about their philosophy and treatment plans. As we mentioned, the relationship between the client and PT is an important factor in determining the outcome of the treatment, so you want to make sure that you trust your provider and the decisions they are making. Ask them questions about their philosophy, their treatment techniques, and what you can expect during the course of treatment.
How does OMPT measure up in this area? We want to know your story, find out what is going on, and learn about your unique needs and goals. Then we will take a deep look at how you move to find out precisely what underlying issues contribute to your symptoms. Next, we will utilize treatment techniques to decrease your symptoms and provide you with some exercises to continue to improve between visits. As we often explain in our newsletters and our social media content, here at OMPT we believe in improving your mobility, strength, and flexibility to not only treat the current injury, but to attempt to prevent subsequent injuries and minimize pain in the future. We only rely on interventions that are deeply rooted in scientific evidence.
2. Physical therapists who favor "active treatment" over "passive treatment" as their main targeted interventions As noted in the NY Times article, "What to Look for in a Physical Therapist", "...if you find yourself in a clinic where passive therapies like heat packs or ultrasound seem to be the main approach to treatment, find another place to go." It is not about having the most technology in a clinic. That technology is only as good as the scientific research that justifies its use. Instead, gravitate toward those PT's who rely on the decades of research that have been done in their field. The simple act of exercise has been shown time and time again to contribute to both recovery and protection from future issues.
How does OMPT measure up in this area?
While there may be situations that call for a passive treatment, those situations are based on individual needs and are not used as the main intervention. OMPT does not use laser therapy, ultrasound, or electrotherapy to treat our clients. As noted in the research, the efficacy and clinical benefits of these practices have not been proven to improve healing beneficially. Instead, we employ active exercise-based treatment plans, as we know from the research that there is substantial evidence supporting this method. Working with your individual needs and goals in mind, we will tailor your plan to get you out of pain while continuing to participate in meaningful activities. We pride ourselves in addressing pain while keeping you active and taking performance to the next level. Moreover, we are lifelong learners here at OMPT and we spend a significant amount of time engaging in professional development to positively impact our clients. To learn more about the combination of treatments we use CLICK HERE!
3. Physical therapists who have a healthy balance of empathy and honesty regarding your specific situation After your initial exam with your chosen PT, the main idea here is to assess whether you connect with this provider or not. Ask yourself whether you felt like they listened to your concerns, whether they partnered with you to form a treatment plan, whether they truly individualized your plan to include your goals and recognize both your strengths and limitations, and whether they gave you a genuine answer to how long it would take to improve your situation.
How does OMPT measure up in this area? Here at OMPT, we will always be honest with you. We want to make sure you can set realistic goals and have a realistic timeline for your recovery. We also want to emphasize that healing is much like the image above. We tend to expect that our healing process will be linear; yet, the reality is much different. You will make progress, you will have milestones...and you will have setbacks, but the important thing to remember is that you will heal. Physical therapy is hard work. While the exercises may be physical, your mindset plays a significant factor in your progress. We want you to know that as you begin to get stronger, you will be able to incrementally challenge your body in new ways. And, these new challenges may cause some minor setbacks while your body adjusts to the increased demand. It may be tempting to avoid this phase of therapy, but this is actually where the magic happens. We want to make sure you know that setbacks are temporary and your physical and mental resilience will grow with each new situation. While we know this can be frustrating, we also know that this is where you will make your biggest gains. And, we will be here alongside you to help you keep putting one foot in front of the other. We will continue to teach you how to maintain improvements for a lifelong healthy, and active lifestyle. There is nothing more rewarding in our field than to help you achieve that healing. To learn more about our philosophy CLICK HERE. After reading all of this, it may seem like you are looking for a unicorn, but when you take the time to do your research and ask the right questions we promise--you will find what you are looking for. And, if you wonder why our model and philosophy may seem quite different from other clinics, that is because OMPT is not contracted with insurance companies. We work for OUR CLIENTS not for insurance companies, and our goal is to put your needs and goals first.
Here at OMPT, we strive each day to stay current in our field, to use the most recent research to inform our practices and to always treat our clients as partners. We are here to guide you, offer you our expertise, encourage you, support your hard work, establish and assess your progress, and walk alongside you as you bravely take the journey toward healing. If you are interested in a free 15-minute phone consult or a single session evaluation CLICK HERE.
WORKOUT OF THE WEEK
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FINDING THE RIGHT PT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
We don't make a habit of featuring ourselves in the community corner, but this week we want to use this opportunity to invite you to think more deeply about the importance of the role of your physical therapist when it comes to healing. Here at OMPT, we value the opportunity to help you improve your physical health and achieve your goals. You have many choices when it comes to selecting a provider and we sincerely hope you will reach out when you find the need. We work hard to not just talk-the-talk, but to also walk-the-walk. We are committed to providing exceptional care and evidenced-based treatment. We look forward to partnering with you! Whether you are a longtime client, a new client, or somebody who just happens to be following our content, we invite you to take a look at our website and our Instagram page to more thoroughly familiarize yourself with who we are and what we offer.
READY TO TAKE THIS TRIP TOGETHER?
There is no quick fix when it comes to your physical health. It is a process that takes dedication, hard work, and resiliency. We recognize how complex this journey is and we would be honored to take this trip with you. The road ahead will be an exciting adventure and just like any trip we always have to be prepared for the unexpected. Lucky for you, we are seasoned tour guides and we can help you navigate the terrain to help you have an epic experience.
Hope to see you on the road to recovery!
Nicole and the OMPT team Want workouts specific to your activity? Reach out for a customized plan.