Come to PT first!!!!
It's human nature, when we injure ourselves we immediately want to know what we damaged. If we roll our ankle (Is it broken?), twist our knee (Did I tear a ligament?), strain our low back (Did my disc just explode?).
Two summers ago I was playing beer league softball. In the midst of reliving my glory days I fully extended for a fly ball landing awkwardly on my right side and twisting my knee. Not only did I badly miss the ball, I could barely walk following this incident (although a teammate told me I looked really good doing it). Over the next few days multiple scenarios ran through my head ranging from how I would work on crutches after they repair my ACL, to how likely it was that I would end up with a knee replacement at 50. I scheduled an appointment with an Orthopedic doctor I work with frequently and contemplated scheduling an MRI on my own.
The next day, after I took a deep breath, stopped catastrophizing and thought about the situation rationally, I decided to perform some light exercise and see if I could improve my mobility and decrease my pain. Now, mind you, I’ve been a PT for 10 years at this point. This is a conversation I have had with people daily for that length of time, yet, my critter brain was in such a state of fight or flight I couldn’t see anything but the worst possible scenarios playing out. Literally 2 days later following a very rudimentary ROM and light closed chain strengthening regimen my knee felt like nothing had happened and I was back to embarrassing myself on the softball field.
So, the moral of the story should be apparent , but if you are anything like the guy in this story who hurt his knee on the softball field, it doesn’t occur to you right away. COME TO PT FIRST! It will save you time, money and likely, pieces of yourself that you can’t get back.
Now I know what you’re thinking and let me answer for you before you ask:
• No you don’t need a referral
• Yes, we can order Xrays if we need to
• Yes, we are less expensive than getting an MRI, Injections or surgery
• Yes, we are qualified and capable of recognizing when your condition would warrant you seeing your physician.
• For Low Back and Neck issues we are qualified and capable of manipulating the spine
The fact is that there is mounting evidence that if you come to PT 1st it will:
1. Lower utilization of high-cost, often unnecessary medical services such as advanced imaging (MRI) and ER visits
2. Greatly reduce the amount of opiods prescribed to you. ( 1)
So the next time you strain a muscle, tweak your back, or come up lame after laying out for an unreachable fly ball in a meaningless softball game, come to PT first. We will get you back to embarrassing yourself as soon as possible.
1. Frogner BK1, Harwood K2, Andrilla CHA1, Schwartz M3, Pines JM4. Physical Therapy as the First Point of Care to Treat Low Back Pain: An Instrumental Variables Approach to Estimate Impact on Opioid Prescription, Health Care Utilization, and Costs. Health Serv Res. 2018 Dec;53(6):4629-4646. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.12984. Epu
By Bill Rein, PT, MSPT, OCA, COMT, FAAOMPT