Do you need to find a physical therapist? The most important factors you have to consider when choosing your physical therapist is skill, knowledge, and attitude. The price is relative to results because while you can easily find a cheap therapist, there may not be much improvement. Thus, you end up spending more, not to mention the trauma and pain that lingers.
All physical therapists have to pass a board exam and be certified in the area they plan to practice their training. They can also be certified in a more general broader field of physical therapy with no specialization. There are different fields in physical therapy, which means you have to delve deeper into the training. For example, some therapists specialize in senior citizens’ problems, known as geriatric physical therapy. This type requires a softer touch because the elderly have brittle bones that can break with just a little pressure. At the same time, most older adults have other medical conditions that have to be taken into consideration when treatment is being administered.
All physical therapists know the basics of therapy, such as:
- how to relieve tension and stress from the back, muscles, joints, ligaments, bones, and tendons
- They are also trained on nerve muscles, primary organ functions like the heart and lungs
- Aware of the importance of blood circulation and blood vessels
- Conscious of working with wounds, burns, and skin problems
- Familiar and trained to defer to doctors regarding medical problem unrelated to physical therapy
- First Aid and primary post-surgery care
Questions to Ask as you Go about Trying to Find a Physical Therapist
Here are a few questions you may want to jot down and use as you try to find a physical therapist that would fit your needs.
- What are the credentials, and can your doctor recommend a PT?
- How long has the PT been practicing?
- Will your insurance company pay for the therapy sessions?
- Should you get a male or female therapist?
You can start with these questions and come up with new ones as you interview or discuss your case with possible physical therapists.
You’re Rights as a Patient
Every patient has specific rights that they can exercise when seeking medical treatment. This includes physical therapy. Some of those rights are:
- You don’t have to feel compelled to use the physical therapist your doctor recommends. You may think that you are not going to get along or you may have issues with scheduling and attitude
- You have the right to be informed about what the therapist will be doing for you
- You should be notified of and agree to the fees before any session
- You have the right to be part of any decisions that will have to be made regarding your treatment
- You have the right to privacy, and any information about your treatment should be kept confidential
Qualifications of a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists usually have to earn a degree: Bachelor, Masters, or Doctorate in Physical Therapy. To get certified, most states require several training hours. Each state has its requirement, and there is no standard minimum work hour experience before getting accredited.
It’s also vital to know the difference between a physical therapist and a physical therapy assistant. One has the education and certification while the other may not even have a four-year degree in Physical Therapy. Always make sure you find a physical therapist, not an assistant.
On a different level of qualifications, the physical therapist should be pleasant but firm, encouraging but not bossy, results-oriented, easy to communicate with and not intimidating, and a person you would feel safe with. If, for any reason, you have doubts about the physical therapist, be open about it and discuss it with your doctor, spouse, parent, or guardian. A patient that is not focused on getting better and stresses more about the therapist than the therapy will not achieve desired results. Physical therapy is a physical activity, but the mind can still have the power to block healing.
Other Interesting Facts about How To Find A Physical Therapist
A physical therapist is not a magician with a wand. This is a professional who has done work with your body, and that involves a lot of factors. For example, if you have injuries or you are recovering from a trauma, this can affect your progress.
Furthermore, the purpose of the therapist is to push you and your body, so you get better faster. One therapist was honest enough to admit that when a patient says an exercise is too easy, this is a good sign, but at the same time, a signal to push harder.
Also, the treatment you get from a physical therapist like the massage is very different from the kind of massage you get in a salon or spa. The therapy massage may hurt while the spa massage is done merely to relax and remove the stiffness from your body. There is no commitment to the spa massage as there is with a physical therapist.