Physical therapy for many people has been a life saver. Patient’s are fearful because they are in pain and are limited in doing the things they enjoy. There are so many options for treatment. Do I see my primary care physician, a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a specialist, do I do yoga, do I try to look up things on youtube? One very viable option is physical therapy. Physical Therapists are movement experts that look at your body to find the impairments that are causing your pain and limitation. When searching for the best physical therapist in Little Rock, there are some things that you should be looking for to ensure you have a great experience and get a great outcome. In this article I will be touching on 5 of those things so that you can be an empowered patient.
- Find out the credentials of the therapist that you will be working with. Just like in medicine the profession of physical therapy is moving toward specialization. We have practice areas in pelvic floor therapy, pediatrics, orthopedics, geriatrics, neurological. Depending on your issue, you want to make sure you are going to someone who can treat you effectively. As part of this specialization our profession offers therapists to go through intensive programs called residencies. This year long training immerses the therapist in research, learning, mentorship and clinical care to help them become expert clinicians. The culmination of these programs is sitting for a national board exam. Here at Pinnacle PT, our owner and only therapist has completed a residency program in Orlando and passed his Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Exam. He is one of the few OCS therapists in the state who also did a residency program. Make sure your therapist has skills that translate into you reaching your goals.
- Another factor that you want to determine is what I call continuity of care. In my eyes it is critical that you see the same physical therapist each visit. We build rapport with our patients and over time we see trends in how your body moves and feels. It is hard to build that report when you see multiple providers or are being seen with other patients at the same time as your session. Having a full hour of time with your skilled therapist goes a long way into getting you a better outcome sooner. All too often PT clinics use technicians or aides to provide care to patients. These individuals are on the job trained and don’t have the skill set of the PT. If you want continuity of care I would ask the clinic you are thinking of going to if they have you scheduled with the same patient and if they use technicians.
- Part of the rehabilitation process is doing something at home or in your normal environment. As therapists we have to modify work environments, activity levels and prescribe movements that the patient needs to be doing on their own time in order to get the best outcome. Some clinics still use outdated technology to provide those directions. There are quite a few systems out there today that provide video based exercise programs that are very detailed to ensure you are performing your homework correctly. Let’s face it, if you don’t put in the time on your own, you will not get the outcome you are looking for. Ask the clinic you are thinking of using what exercise system they use and how you are educated on what you need to be doing at home. I would be very weary of a clinic that says they use outdated drawings or stick figures or worse that they don’t prescribe anything for you to do at home.
- Another factor that is critical is transparency in both cost and commitment of time. Even before you see the therapist it should be clear to you what cost you will be responsible for when the visit is done. Every insurance company is different and the insurance landscape is changing. With higher deductibles and co-payments we are more responsible for paying our healthcare bills. Some clinics have no idea what their services cost to you the patient! That to me is scary. I don’t want to get a bill a month down the road saying that I owe money to someone. The other component of that is the commitment of your time. After your first visit is should be made clear when you should start seeing results (often a reduction in your pain and improvement in your function). How many times are you going to be going to PT? How many total visits will you have? These are all questions to ask so you know how much time you have to commit to reaching your goal.
- This last tip is more a point of education for patients. In the state of Arkansas you have the right to go to any PT clinic you feel will give you the best care. Often patients are referred to PT from a physician. Some physicians own PT clinics. There can be a conflict of interest if a physician is referring a patient to a clinic he/she owns. They may be getting some incentive to send that patient to their facility, even if it may not be the best fit for the patient. Now that you are empowered with the above questions you can search for PT clinics on google. I would also advise you to read reviews. Reviews from patients that have been seen at the office you are thinking of going to for care give you insights that are unbiased. You may even find someone who has a similar story to yours and see the outcome that they achieved. It is time for patients to be more empowered to make smart decisions that affects their lifestyle and wellness.
If you are interested in talking directly to our PT, Dr. Brian Murphy you can! We offer a FREE discovery visit. This is where you can jump on the phone with Dr. Murphy or set up a time to come into the office and he will sit down with you and find out if he feels he can help you reach your goals.
Thanks and here’s to helping you reach your pinnacle!