Why Sooner Is Better Than Later

In all aspects of healthcare, you often hear the phrase, “early detection.” Over the span of lives of mankind, medicine of all disciplines has changed their focus from a tendency toward reactive treatment to a model of preventative care. From dental disease to diet and cancer to cardiology, the human body is linked intricately together. The sooner small problems can be measured and managed, the less likely larger problems will develop down the road. The same is true with physical therapy. Treatment of acute injuries or illnesses take much longer to treat than a preventative plan of care that addresses minor pain or weakness swiftly and effectively.Faster Treatment for a Faster RecoveryThe extent of an injury is oftentimes not immediately apparent after an injury. Some injuries, especially soft tissue injuries, can start out as mild pain, but lead to more serious complications down the line. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. [https://www.nih.gov/]” This high number could indicate that people often simply live with the pain in lieu of treatment, and it’s less of an issue of “if” than “when.”The early treatment of soft tissue can help to improve range of motion, allowing for strengthening and stretching, and it can also work to prevent more dramatic interventions such as surgery or injections. Having a “wait and see” mentality may be a healthy mindset when it comes to life’s little problems, but when you only get one body to live in, it’s better to be safe than sorry.Long Term Injuries and OpioidsAnother reason that early detection, evaluation, and treatment are so important is because of the long term effects on the body of opioid painkillers. According to an article by Science.com, “At high doses, opioid painkillers actually seem to amplify pain by changing signaling in the central nervous system, making the body generally more sensitive to painful stimuli [shorturl.at/aLNZ3].” A phenomenon called hyperalgesia, it is mostly uncharted territory that scientists are still attempting to understand better.As odd as it may sound, pain is a vital evolutionary gift given to us to keep us from worse harm or injury, and to force our bodies to rest and recover in the face of severe injuries. Without it, we wouldn’t know to pull our hands off of a hot stove. In a way, pain is our bodies own “early detection,” and we can’t mask it indefinitely with opioids any more than you can inject a linebacker with a broken femur and send him back in the game.When it comes to saving time and resources, early treatment at the first sign of injury or neurological illness is probably more efficient, but the benefits of early detection for preventing further or worse injury is undisputed. We have several convenient locations to serve you and we have a 24-48 turnaround policy on evaluations for new patients. We specifically hold blocks of time on our schedule open each week to ensure that new patients can get in at the first sign of injury or illness. Don’t live in pain a moment longer than you have to! Call us today to start your path to a pain free holiday season!

How can Physical Therapy help me?

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Physical Therapy is a trusted healthcare industry dedicated to evaluating and treating certain injuries and illnesses. The goal of Physical Therapists is to ease pain by helping you to move, live, and function better. [Source: bls.gov]. Also known as physiotherapists, these highly trained professionals go through a doctorate program with specific emphasis on kinesiology, or the movement of the body, biology, and the musculoskeletal system.

Developing a Plan of Care

Since insurance companies determine payment by a therapist’s outcomes, developing a plan of care based on an initial evaluation or re-evaluation is the first thing your therapist will do with you. An evaluation is a consultation between you and your therapist in which your level of injury will be determined. Your therapist will ask you about pain, exercise, and sometimes even sleeping and nutritional habits to determine the root cause of your pain. From there, your therapist will likely prescribe a regimen of PT that can take days, weeks, or months, depending on the illness or injury. Common illnesses and injuries treated by physical therapists are arthritis, post surgical care, pre surgical conditioning and care, low back pain, TMD, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and joint issues [Source: apta.org].

After the Evaluation
After your evaluation and plan of care are complete, you will begin treatment. Since the goal of therapy is to minimize or eliminate pain, your PT will likely develop a combination of treatments, in addition to exercises to strengthen your muscles, improving your stability. Your therapist will likely treat you with massage, mobilization, and stretches until you are comfortable enough to perform more complex movements. You may be recommended to try cold and hot compresses, electronic stimulation (e-stim), and dry needling. Some patients are unable to properly work out because their injury or illness is too acute [Source: apta.org].

When your therapist has reached the outcomes he or she set during your initial evaluation, you will be discharged from Physical Therapy. After being discharged from PT, you can continue to follow up with PT once a month or PRN as a preventative measure. You may be asked to keep up a home exercise program or keep up your normal activity level pre injury-we will always be working towards your activity goal [Source: WebPT.com]. Many insurance companies actually require PT before and after surgeries because it has been deemed the most effective way for surgeons to improve their own outcomes. PT can help you to live a life pain-free, flexible, and comfortable [Source: cms.gov]. As of 2016, you do not need a prescription from a medical doctor for PT. You can simply walk into any of our clinics, and we will schedule an appointment with you. October is National Physical Therapy Month, so there is no better time to come in and start your healing process today!