What is ‘Good’ Physical Therapy?

What is ‘Good’ Physical Therapy? Blog

The New York Dynamic Neuromuscular Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy believes in the importance of telling what good physical therapy is versus what is average or subpar. Knowing the qualities of physical therapists who understand your needs as a patient and will cater to those needs versus a physical therapist who might not understand the vast array of circumstances that impact a person’s functionality will help you to find the best therapist for you and your body.

Do you understand the qualities of good physical therapy? Do you wonder if there is a differentiation between the quality of physical therapy depending on the clinic you visit, or do you think they are all generally about the same? Do you visit the first clinic that appears on your search engine results page? How are you able to tell what an actually good therapy session is versus what isn’t? Are you able to notice the difference between the two?

Truth is, there are many differences among therapy clinics out there, and knowing what the differences are is critical to finding the best kind of treatment. Finding a decent therapist may be easy, but effectively treating the problem you face is a far more difficult road to navigate. The first and most important thing to know is what the tasks of a physical therapist are.

Physical therapists (PTs) are professional health care providers who know the ins and outs of examining and treating problems that have an affect on a person’s ability to physically function and move. In general, physical therapists are experts on movement. If you have experienced a muscle or skeletal injury, or have undergone orthopedic surgery in the past, there’s a chance that you’ve visited a PT at some point. There are clinics that are called “sports medicine specialization” or “elite training facility” but one must ask if these clinics are indeed better than an average physical therapy clinic with just the basic necessities like an open space and one or two treatment rooms. Just because these specialized clinics have more shiny equipment and tools, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a better therapeutic treatment. Continue reading for more facts.

PTs are focused on improving your performance and how they relate to your movement. Good PTs will review your movement and identify any weak muscles in your body that might affect the motions of your joins, muscles, normal ability to flex, or certain movements that you are doing in a less than optimal fashion. These kinds of identifications can be made immediately upon examination with a good PTs. Once the evaluation is complete, a good physical therapist will outline a basic treatment plan that is based on the movements you’ve made in order to improve weak movements, any imbalances, any inabilities to flex, or problems with coordination. Good PTs are equipped to improve strength, stretches and conditioning through the right program that fits your needs.

The very basics of optimal health is the simple ability to sit up and stand up straight, move your arms and legs pain-free and effortlessly. For some patients, injuries from accidents or surgery can impact these general functions, and they may cause pain. PTs do not restrict treatment to those who are just recently suffering from injury or surgery. A great deal of good therapists direct their treatment towards prevention from additional injury or the inability to have certain movements. PTs work with the patient on what is causing the dysfunction or pain during a movement initially. There can be a range of reasons that contribute to the pains down the ankle, foot, hip, and gait of a person. A good physical therapist would consult the patient on his or her lifestyle, hobbies, activities and general day-to-day functions in order to map out how the movements in performance might cause the pain.

A physical therapist must be able to know and understand the large range of problems that can impact a person’s overall health, functions and movement. PTs are well-equipped to develop programs for exercising or assignments that assist those who are injured, or those who are uninjured but would like to prevent restricted movements in the future, athletes, or any patient. The fundamentals of good physical therapy are therapeutic exercises and training of functions. Along with these hands-on care techniques, there are skilled manual therapy which patients can try without any assistants, healthcare providers or aides. A good physical therapist will also educate his or her patient on how to treat the problem through effective exercises, corrected movements, and improved functions on a daily basis.

Great physical therapy is all about functionality, specificity and movement based on the patient’s ability to maximize their level of functionality. Understanding the key difference between an average or below-average physical therapist and a good physical therapist is critical to your health.

The difference in quality of anything will mean the difference on your experience. When it comes to something as important as your health, it’s critical that you do not underestimate what improved functionality and pain-free movement can do for you. Physical movements can affect your mood, your vision, your mind and your overall health holistically. Once you have your PT improve your functions, joints, gait pattern and movement, you’ll see how much of a drastic change these corrections can have on your life overall. Any physical activity that you couldn’t perform in the past is no longer a stressful thing to consider. The long walks you couldn’t take with your loved ones before is no longer a problem. Being able to hold a pen better, or cook in the kitchen using heavy skillets and knives might no longer become a burdensome option. Being able to handle these basic lifestyle options is a tremendous gift. A good PT can help make these dreams a reality if you were at some point not able to perform these functions in the past. So why wait?

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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