References for this month’s newsletter video:
Merritt Hawkins 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times
These references suggest that treatments commonly provided by physical therapists are a great first choice.
Physical therapy won’t cure everyone.
Some need more aggressive care.
However, physical therapist directed care is natural, affordable in comparison to many other treatment approaches, and easy to access… in most cases, we can see you for your first visit within 24-48 hours.
Neck pain – exercise and possibly manual therapy/laser therapy are helpful
Shoulder problems – exercise therapy is helpful for rotator cuff problems, impingement, and frozen shoulders
Tennis elbow – in the short term, physical therapy is more effective
Carpal tunnel syndrome – physical therapist directed care was as good as surgery in this study of women with carpal tunnel syndrome.
Low back pain – there are numerous articles about the effectiveness of physical therapy, lower cost, and access.
Hip arthritis – when research data is pooled, scientists have concluded that land-based therapeutic exercise programs can reduce pain and improve physical function in patients with hip arthritis.
Knee arthritis – most patients will benefit from manual therapy and exercise
Meniscus tear – among patients with nonobstructive meniscal tears, PT was noninferior to APM for improving patient-reported knee function over a 24-month follow-up period.
Achilles tendinitis – mid-portion tendinopathy responds well to progressive resistance exercises.
Plantar fasciitis – this research demonstrated that orthoses, exercise, and manual therapy was helpful.
When it comes to most neuro-musculoskeletal conditions/diagnoses, there is research to support seeing a physical therapist first for natural, conservative care. Sometimes physical therapist directed care is effective.
With some patients, physical therapy is not effective and additional, more aggressive treatment is necessary. We understand this and support this line of reasoning.
We are not saying or suggesting that physical therapy is the one or only solution for any particular diagnosis.
Our point is simple. Try natural, conservative care first that is in most cases, more affordable, has little to no side effects, and is readily available (i.e. we can start treatment with you in the next 1-3 days). This is the care provided by our physical therapy team.