Do you think you know what ‘good’ physical therapy is? Is there a difference in the quality of physical therapy from clinic to clinic or is it all basically the same? Do you just go with the first place listed from a Google search? How can you tell what truly good physical therapy consists of?  Would you be able to tell the difference between the two?

There is a lot of difference in physical therapy clinics and we want you to know what that difference is. Getting to a physical therapist is easy, getting rid of your problem and truly moving better is much more difficult. The first step is know what a physical therapist is and does.

Physical therapists (PT’s) are health care providers who are the experts in the examination and treatment of problems that affect people’s abilities to move and function. Simply put, we are movement experts. If you’ve ever had a musculoskeletal injury or an orthopedic surgery, chances are you’ve been to a physical therapist. Some clinics are named ‘sports medicine specialists’ or ‘elite training facilities’ but are they better than the average clinic with a couple of treatment rooms and open space? If you think that more equipment = better therapy, you better keep reading.

As PT’s we are concerned with improving and performance related to your ability to move. Good PT’s evaluate how you move and identify muscles that may be weak, motions in your joints or muscles that may lack normal flexibility and movements you may be performing in a less than optimal manner, which may predispose you to injury. After an evaluation, a good physical therapist can set up a treatment plan based on your specific movements to correct your areas of weakness, imbalance, inflexibility or lack of coordination. We also have expertise in creating strengthening, stretching, and conditioning programs to get you to where you want to be.

The ability to sit and stand upright and move your limbs freely and without pain is a very important component of good health. For some of us, injuries can adversely affect our ability to move well and without pain. Our PT’s don’t confine treatment to those who are newly injured or just after a surgery, etiher. A large part of what a good PT does is directed at prevented further injury and loss of movement. We also work on what exactly is causing the movement dysfunction in the first place. Just because you have knee pain, doesn’t mean that everything begins and ends in your knee. There can be a variety of components that contribute to the knee pain coming from the hip, ankle, and even your gait pattern. Good PT’s consult to find out your activites and lifestyle to find out specifically how those tasks affect your knee pain.

Because PT’s are required to understand a vast array of problems that affect movement, function, and health, we are well suited to develop exercise programs for the injured and not injured, for the seasoned athlete, and the just-getting-into exercise patient. The cornerstones of good physical therapy are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to ‘hands on care’–that is: skilled manual therapy without the use of assistants, aides, or ancillary care providers– good PT’s also educate the patient about how their specific problem is affecting their movement and function and how their movement mechanics are affecting their exercise program.

We believe strongly in ‘good PT’–that is: physical therapy that is specific, functional, and movement based to return patients to their maximal functional level. Knowing the difference between ‘so-so’ PT and good PT is important. Just as you can find ‘so-so’ pizza and GOOD pizza at a traditional pizzaiolo, having GOOD PT makes a big difference in your health. And that is the most important thing.

— Krutika ‘Katie’ Patel, MSPT, Cert MDT