So, if you have pain in your feet, back, neck, shoulder, knees or some other joint or muscle in your body, whom should you contact first? Your Physical Therapist? A Doctor, OR a Chiropractor?
The health professional you see first should be one that spends a significant amount of time listening to you and the issues that are keeping you from what you need want and love to do.
You also want to spend time with the professional who is going to take 45 minutes to an hour examining your body as a whole, versus just focusing on one area. This is because many times the area you are having pain is not the area that started the pain. In other words, the pain is coming from somewhere else in your body. For example, I see patients with Low Back injuries that have minimal pain in their back, but have intense pain and weakness in their leg and foot. If I only look at the patient’s leg and foot since this is where the pain is worst, but don’t examine the back, then I am only treating the symptoms and not fixing the cause of the foot and leg pain which is actually the low back.
Also, you want to be seen by the health professional that is going to treat the root cause of your problems with a goal of solving your pain long term so you don’t have to continue going for treatment visits for months or years on end.
Physical Therapists fit the mold of what you should look for perfectly because they are trained to listen intently to the issues you are having and what you want to return to. We spend an entire hour with each of our patients on their first visit to do just that, listen intently and examine thoroughly.
In addition, Physical Therapists are trained to determine the root cause of the pain and attack that instead of just treating the symptoms with pills, shots, surgery, etc.
Often times Doctors are very busy and are overbooked which means that you may have to sit in their waiting room long after your appointment time only to be seen for a few short minutes – this does not allow for much time to be listened to or examined thoroughly. This leads to the easiest path, which is to be given pills and or shots and told to rest. In the long run this just prolongs the problems you started with since the cause is not being addressed. Most insurances allow you to see a Physical Therapist First because they know that the Physical Therapist has more time to spend with the patient and that it is the Physical Therapist’s job to send the patient to the Doctor immediately if during their thorough evaluations, they see red flags or reasons that the Doctor needs to see patient first for diagnostic testing before moving forward with Physical Therapy.
Chiropractors can be very helpful as well, however most are trained to treat acute pain. Chiropractors focus on forcing the spine and sometimes the joints of the arms and legs back “into” position with manual thrust maneuvers. Many times, this results in rapid and significant relief, however it is often temporary which is why many patients need to have treatments for months or years on end. Physical Therapists also use manual techniques to ensure that the spine and joints are in proper alignment, however they also focus on restoring proper flexibility and strength to the muscles and joints surrounding the spine and extremities because that is what stabilizes the joints of the spine and extremities. This stabilization creates long-term relief because it fixes the reason why the problem occurred in the first place. Thus, the treatment time in Physical Therapy is significantly less – 4-6 wks. at 2xwk, then continuing at home with flexibility and strengthening maintain stabilization and thus, relief of pain so you can resume all the things you need, want and love to do.
Come See For Yourself:
Give us a call today at 717-245-0400 to schedule your One-on-One Private Free Screen with one of our expert Physical Therapists – they will take time to listen to the issues your having and tell you the next best step to take to get back to living life the way you want and need to.
If you prefer to talk with one of our expert Physical Therapists on the phone instead, then call today at 717-245-0400 and we will schedule you a FREE Phone Consultation.