The mindset of the injured sports or sedentary individual has not changed much over the years. They have grown up to understand that when they are experiencing pain or discomfort from an injury or chronic issue, the next best course of action is to make an appointment with their trusted physician to get it diagnosed and treated. All they desire is to have the pain go away or have the issue fixed.
With a successful conclusion, many are able to resume their individual sport or follow their life’s dreams and aspirations. But, many do not realize that an important piece of their future health and physical welfare puzzle could be potentially missing. Caretakers of today’s society often use a prospective avenue of wellness instruction. Many Orthopedic Surgeons and Physician's alike understand the value of a course designed to improve their patient's strength, conditioning, balance and coordination that is geared to have patients return to physical normalcy. This step is a referral to a licensed Physical Therapist.
During these physician visits, after a diagnosis has been achieved and a medical treatment plan implemented, I would argue that a valuable next step in many instances is a referral to Physical Therapy. With the application of proven treatment techniques and education instruction regarding injury prevention or identifying a change in life habits, many of these injuries can be avoided in the future. Instructions range from postural improvement and body mechanic education to general/specific strength and flexibility instruction that each individual can take with them and apply the principles as they proceed through life.
I would ask that all physicians, regardless of specialty, make an effort to evaluate the causal factors or the ramifications of each pathology they treat and ask themselves if Physical Therapy could help in any way. In many cases, our services can be successful in preventing a reoccurrence of the painful issues and provide you the education and a deeper understanding of the condition as well as ways to avoid it in the future.
Public wellness, injury prevention, strength programs for young and old alike are all areas overlooked by this profession and the medical community in general. These are areas in great need of skilled interventions and Physical Therapy can be a valuable guiding force in the management of these populations.
This article was written by Karlan Armstrong, MS, PT., a physical therapist who treats patients with Just Orthopedic.