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If you’re an active person who enjoys hobbies or sports, there comes a time when you may have to deal with an unexpected injury.  Perhaps you rushed thru your workout or lifted something at home and suddenly you feel something click or pop and you know it is serious due to the intense wave of pain. Your first question is probably “Now what do I do?”  You may see your doctor but at some point you will probably end up having to see a physical therapist to properly treat your injury. At this point, how do you know if you’ve found a good Physical Therapist, and when do you know to move on?

Find the right physical therapist can be crucial to help you with recovery from a variety of problems, be it post-op surgical care, to preventative care, to healing common orthopedic and neurological conditions. What should you look for when selecting a physical therapist for your injury? Here are a few qualities that you should consider when deciding to separate the good from the great.

Understand The 3 Components of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a delicate balance between medical science, art, and personal experience, and your physical therapist should have a combination of all three:

1) Evidence-Based Practice (Science) : The field of physical therapy is not static; it is constantly changing.  Therefore, a great therapist should regularly follow scientific journals and attend continuing education seminars to improve their skills, expand their knowledge base, and study the latest protocols. At your first appointment, you should consider discussing with your therapist about their treatment approach and how they can use to help you. A great therapist will be able to explain the reason and benefits for what they are going to do for your injury.

2) Style of Treatment (Art): Once you have identified a physical therapist that is specially trained in the area of your need, you should then try to find a PT with a treatment style that matches your style and experience. what you want.  You will find that there are some PTs that are skilled with specialty styles such as manual therapy, dry needling, and muscle activation which may require extra training via residencies, fellowships, or year-long courses. Other therapists may be more involved in  movement correction or entirely exercise-based. In any case, all PTs should be able to do both various treatment approaches but the great ones will customize the plan of care and treatment to what would work best and quickest for your particular situation and be ready to adapt as your situation changes.  This is crucial for progressing from short-term to long-term success.

3) Area of Specialty (Experience) : Find out if they primarily work with patients that have similar conditions.   This is a field where experience can make all the difference in helping you with your specific injury and to ensure that your treatment is effective.  Seeing a physical therapist who know more about your specific injury or condition could increase the efficacy of your progression and your home-exercise workouts. They will know the various manual therapy techniques and proper exercises that can have the greatest benefit per visit.  The easier way to do this is to take some time to check out the physical therapy clinic’s website and read the bios of the PTs that work there.  This will give you much better idea of each their area of expertise.

The Right Combination

An excellent physical therapist should ideally have all three traits (science, art, and experience) and be able to adapt these skills to effectively meet your individual needs. Because each person is unique, different factors will influence their recovery. A skilled physical therapist should be able to adapt the plan of care to best suit their patient’s needs and preferences.

You always have a choice in who you use for physical therapy.  Choose a great physical therapist.  We at Emery Physical Therapy are proud of the team we have put togehter  Find out more about what makes our physical therapy staff different by clicking HERE.