How to Find the Right Physical Therapist
Ok, you really are injured. Your doctor told you to go see a physical therapist, or maybe you’re realizing this injury won’t heal on its own. Now what? You don’t want to trust your most precious resource, your body, to just anyone, but most people’s first move would be to google physical therapy clinics in the Reno, Nevada area. Is that really how you want to find the person that will be restoring you to your previous glory?
You need to know all physical therapists and physical therapy clinics are not created equally.
If you were to have a surgery, you would most likely have a second opinion. We get multiple estimates before getting our car repaired. Doesn’t it make sense to research your physical therapist? Consider not just price, but quality, convenience, experience, and specialty. There’s no doubt that cost is an important consideration, but remember you only have one body and you want it to feel good. You want to rehabilitate and restore – not just get a rub down with no lasting effect.
So I offer you some tips for determining if a therapist is the right match for you:
- If you have no guidance from your doctor or friends, check out apta.org/findapt. Look at the specialties, extra certifications, and education. The letters don’t guarantee a great physical therapist, but it does show an effort on the therapist’s part to go above and beyond the status quo after graduation.
- Call the clinic or look on the website to learn more about that specific therapist. You should be able to see each therapist’s specialties, educational backgrounds, and years of experience.
- Ask about the size and treatment style of the clinic. Are you comfortable in a big open gym or would you prefer to be treated in a private room? Does that physical therapist have 4 patients in an hour or just one?
- Ask how long each visit is with the physical therapist. Many clinics have patients see both the therapist and an unlicensed therapy aide or technician. You want to make sure the bulk of your therapy is with the physical therapist (for example 45 min with the physical therapist and 15 with an aide). Aides can guide exercises if you have already been trained well by the physical therapist. The aide should not be teaching the exercises or performing any hands-on techniques to patients.
- Will you see the same physical therapist each visit? Consistency is important. As a therapist, having the patient’s full back story helps us put together the puzzle pieces. Without consistency of care, important details are often lost, which can have a significant impact on the extent and speed of recovery.
- Will a therapist take the time to talk to you on the phone prior to your appointment or answer questions and concerns between appointments? Now, realistically the physical therapist may not be able to jump on the phone whenever you call, but it is reasonable to expect a call back within 48 hours.
Once you have spoken to or met your therapist, consider a few other factors that will aid in the success of your care:
- Do you like the person? Be honest, this person will be in your face and touching your body, if you don’t feel comfortable with them, it could affect your outcome. Do they listen to your concerns? Were you involved in establishing goals for therapy?
- You should feel a difference in one to two visits. Notice I did not say you should be better in one to two visits, but there should be some change. That change may be good or bad. If it’s not good, the therapist should be able to answer why your symptoms are not improving.
- Often the symptoms that brought you to physical therapy are not the actual cause of the problem (which is a topic for another post, stay tuned). But frequently a knee hurts but it is because the hip is weak. Did your therapist look at your whole body, not just the injured region?
At Battle Born Health, our therapists have over 25 years of combined experience in Orthopedic and Athletic populations. Our therapists have completed post-doctoral certifications and board certifications. We do not employ technicians or aides. We strive for 100% consistency with patient scheduling.
We provide a free 30-minute discovery session for all potential patients. We would love to talk you, answer your questions about what is hurting or limiting your ability to do what you want to do. We are different from the rest and would love the opportunity to prove it. If we are not the right fit for you, we are happy to direct you to the appropriate practitioner.
Give us a call!