The “Preferred Practice Method”
Many people will ask “what kind of physical therapy do you do?” because it is clear from the beginning of their journey with us, that we are not like regular physical therapy. This is a summary of our process to help you better understand what you will achieve with us and how we will help you get there.
Step 1 - Discovery Phone Call
Regular physical therapy offices will ask “what’s your name, date of birth, and insurance?” after you mention you are looking to be a patient. The sad thing is, nothing feels wrong about it because that’s how our doctor, dentist, and every other health care practice operates. What if instead, the person on the other end of the phone sounded like a real human trying to help you solve your problem? We want to know what is going on, how it’s affecting you, and what you want to accomplish by coming to a specialty physical therapy clinic. We want to help you! And having this conversation gives us the opportunity to determine if we’ll be a good fit to help you succeed and if we can work with you toward your health goals … all before we take any money from you.
Step 2 - Root Cause Inspection
Patients come to us looking for solutions to the pain in their nerves, muscles, and joints. Many are caught up in wanting to know what tissue is broken and causing pain, assuming that if they can solve it they wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Almost as if you can find the area where the pain is and inject it with medicine all the pain will go away… but that’s not how it works! We know this because those injections exist and patients come to us after those injections have failed. The painful site and broken down tissue are just a symptom, and if you only treat the symptom the pain will come back. In this step, we do a thorough evaluation of how you move, what muscles are weak, how your body compensates for that weakness, and how your body responds to hands-on treatment and exercises. This can take a few visits to fully understand how your body is connected to your pain. Taking time to identify the Root Cause of your pain significantly strengthens our ability to prescribe successful hands-on treatment and therapeutic exercises.
Some examples of cases we’ve seen and corrected.
- Shoulder pain and difficulty sleeping because of a herniated disc in the neck resolved with neck exercises, decompression, and dry needling after spending months in a regular physical therapy clinic doing shoulder exercises for his rotator cuff.
- Foot pain and difficulty walking from chronic plantar fasciitis resolved with hip and core strengthening exercises because of excessive hip rotation from her weak hips and core after spending hundreds of dollars on custom orthotics and “quality shoes”.
- Knee pain taking her out of daily walks with her girlfriends caused by ankle tightness and glute weakness resolved with a mobility program for her ankle and core strength for her hips after repeated injections failed and x-rays said “severe osteoarthritis”.
Step 3 - Personalized Plan of Care
This is a crucial step to helping you overcome pain so you can live free from pain killers and avoid surgery and injections. This is our prescription to help you get better and stay better, naturally. Regular physical therapy’s model is based on volume, seeing 3-4 patients per hour making it nearly impossible to avoid giving common exercises with very little hands-on treatment. With a Personalized Plan of Care, you will understand why we’re prescribing you exercises and choosing specific hands-on treatment with feedback from you about what is working and what you’re comfortable with. This will include understanding things that might get in the way of your success such as your work schedule, vacations, financial considerations, and time constraints to best put together a plan for you.
Step 4 - Re-Evaluation
Along the way we re-evaluate and compare what we found at the beginning of treatment to what we are finding now… is it different? Are we on the right path? Are we seeing the changes we need to arrive at your goal? There are only 3 possible outcomes from this re-evaluation.
- All Better - pain is gone or very stable, you’re consistent with doing exercises at home correctly and confident you’re ready to continue at home. This means you’re ready for discharge to a Home Exercise Program
- Improving - seeing progress in your pain, showing improvement in your strength and mobility, and we’re confident you’re on the right track. This means we just need more time and you should continue care.
- Same - pain persists and not seeing any change since starting care. This means something is missing and we need to step back to make adjustments. Sometimes we might recommend additional imaging or maybe a consultation with a specific provider. Sometimes it means we need to change the course of treatment and it will take more time. Just because your pain has not changed yet doesn’t mean we’re not seeing progress.
Some cases can include multiple re-evaluations depending on how long you have suffered from pain and how many places we need to treat to get it resolved.
Step 5 - Polishing
Our bodies work to be as efficient as possible and adapt to demands we place on them. Too often those demands are a rigid routine of sitting sprinkled with sporadic exercise. We can go weeks, months, and sometimes years without physically challenging our bodies correctly to avoid breakdowns in movement and strength that lead to pain. The best way to stay free from pain killers, injections, and surgery is to be strategic with your exercise and activity to include challenges to strength, endurance, balance, mobility, and power. Once you finish treatment, we will have a discussion to see if you are a candidate for our Preferred Fitness program designed to help you keep the improvements you made during treatment and help keep you that way in the future.
Would you like to find out more?
Choose Which One Works Best For You...