How Do I know when I should see a Physical Therapist?
Commonly, pain first gets our attention. Pain is an indicator the body uses to ask us to change how we are moving or holding our bodies. There are other symptoms that also should be addressed. Muscle fatigue and weakness, balance, coordination problems, light-headedness and dizziness, changes in sensation can be some reasons you should see a physical therapist. You may think you are in need of surgery, but have you tried movement re-education? I have had great results with individuals who did not want to go through with a hip or knee replacement or arthroscopy.
A Physical Therapist knows how to manage all four of the body’s major systems musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) to restore and maximize mobility. Whether you are living with diabetes or recovering from a stroke, a fall, or a sports injury, a physical therapist is a trusted health care professional who will work closely with you to evaluate your condition and develop an effective, personalized plan of care. A physical therapist can help you achieve long-term results for many conditions that limit your ability to move on. They can restore your ability to move freely again without pain and discomfort, and they can even help you prevent an injury altogether.
Should I take pain medications prior to the visit?
I prefer that you don’t. Contrary to the old opinion regarding PTs, my goal is to reduce pain and improve function. Your pain is an indicator and helps me with my assessment and treatment of you.
What Should I Wear?
Comfortable clothing that will allow access to the area you are most concerned about.
How are you different from other PTs I have seen?
I can only tell you what patients have told me. 1. You will be treated by only me, for the entire 45-60 minute session (evaluation is longer). 2. I assess your entire body, alignment and movement quality, not just the part you are concerned about. 3. A frequent question I hear is “Why hasn’t anybody told me this before?” 4. A frequent statement I hear is “Thank you for treating me like a grown-up”.
What does “Evidenced Based Practice” mean?
The most common definition of EBP is taken from Dr. David Sackett, a pioneer in evidence-based practice. EBP is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.” (Sackett D, 1996)
EBP is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care. Clinical expertise refers to the clinician’s cumulated experience, education and clinical skills. The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal and unique concerns, expectations, and values. The best evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology. (Sackett D, 2002)
There is an erroneous belief out there that says the evidence-based model (EBM) holds research over and above a clinician’s years of experience, and prevents a clinician from trying new, untested waters. Or that EBM doesn’t take into account a patient’s needs and preferences. This is all untrue. EBM is a triad: the patient’s own unique concerns, expectations, and values, along with the clinicians expertise and clinically relevant research.
Which means I have to do a whole lot of reading to keep up with what is relevant and what is not. Fortunately, there are plenty of evidence-based websites and journals being published that expedite this process for me.
What do you think of ultrasound?
Therapeutic ultrasound is one of the most widely and frequently used electrophysical agents. Despite over 60 years of clinical use, the effectiveness of ultrasound for treating people with pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and soft tissue lesions remains questionable. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) found that little evidence that active therapeutic ultrasound is more effective than placebo ultrasound for treating people with pain or a range of musculoskeletal injuries or for promoting soft tissue healing. The few studies deemed to have adequate methods examined a wide range of patient problems. The dosages used in these studies varied considerably, often for no discernible reason.
Physical Therapy July 2001 vol. 81 no. 7 1339-1350
What if I do not have insurance?
If you are uninsured or I am not contracted with your insurance company, I am happy to see you on a pay-as-you-go basis. Please contact me or call my office for these rates, which can be flexible.
What health plans do you accept?
- Blue Cross
- Blue Shield
- First Choice
- Group Health Options
- Integrated Health Plan
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options (PPO)
- United Healthcare
- WA Labor & Industries (Workman’s Comp)
- All personal injury cases (Auto/Sports insurance medical policies)
Other health plans are also accepted. If you are not sure if Karen is provider for your plan, you can ask your insurance company. If she is an out of network provider for your insurance, you can also ask them what their rate of compensation is for providers that are out of your plan.
Karen is not currently contracted with
- Aetna (They keep rejecting our provider application because they have “enough” PTs contracted with them)
- Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington (HMO) (They keep rejecting our provider application even though we are contracted for their PPO plans)
- Medicare (too much red tape for a small business)
- Tricare (We want to be contracted but they will not let us because we are not contracted with Medicare)
- OWCP (Federal Workman’s Comp – We want to be contracted but they will not let us because we are not contracted with Medicare)