A distraught woman wheels her 42-year-old husband into a physical for a scheduled appointment. The man was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident, suffered traumatic injuries and both are looking at the physical therapist with a sense of hopelessness. They have two young children and he needs to rehabilitate to provide for his family. The physical therapist reassures the couple they are in the right place and with the patience, begins setting goals for improvement. One month of therapy and the man is able to walk with a walker. Two months later, the man is able to steadily able to walk without a walker. Three months, and the man is walking normally and able to return to work full-time.
This is just a small glimpse of what physical therapy can do. Physical therapy is not just treating the patient but also establishing a valuable relationship with the patient, family and other healthcare providers involved in reaching meaningful goals. Every clinic setting is unique in structure, all share a common core value of providing patients with the best care in helping them reach their goals.
Did you know patients can walk into a physical therapy clinic without needing a medical doctor’s prescription ? For example… lets say you have back pain, you can schedule an appointment and be evaluated and discuss your plan without seeing your doctor. We evaluate your problems, coordinate with your doctor and start care right away. If we need to refer you out, or get more information, we get that started along with other members of your medical team.
Just like how patients have annual physicals, patients can schedule regular check-ups from physical therapists to avoid future injury. Physical therapists are well prepared to provide the public with preventative care; from postural correction/ergonomics, identifying muscular weakness/flexibility, and/or proper footwear, we can be the front-end of this process, leading to less cost for the patient.
While many recognize the outpatient orthopedic setting, many other settings of physical therapy exist. Someone recovering from a stroke or spinal cord injury will partake in neurological rehab. A child that is having trouble walking because
they have cerebral palsy will partake in pediatric rehab. A patient dealing with a non-healing diabetic foot sore will partake in wound-care rehab. Someone having issues holding onto their urine benefits from pelvic floor rehab. Someone who had a knee replacement is going to be seen by an acute physical therapist the day of the surgery. A patient who has had a recent stroke and is not safe enough to go home will participate in inpatient rehab. If the patient is safe enough to go home but cannot find transportation to get to an outpatient clinic, a home-health therapist will come provide treatment at their home.
There are so many ways that physical therapy can help the public, let us be the avenue of change to make Shreveport a happy, healthy, and active city. Join us in celebrating National PT month by going to your therapist for a Fall Checkup… get ready for the falling leaves and the coming holidays by addressing that nagging pain or difficulty that could make your holidays and the coming year your best one!
Dr. Garrett Dinicola, PT, DPT for Eberhardt Physical Therapy, Nutrition and Wellness Clinic