Friday, September 8, 2017

Good vs. Exceptional

by Sally Fansler, PT
Whether it is their first or their fiftieth time seeking physical therapy, patients want to put their health in the hands of a physical therapist that can help them achieve their goals. A good physical therapist has a solid education of the musculoskeletal system as well as training in biomechanics, neuroscience, physiology and kinesiology. Well-credentialed with a license in the state in which they practice is also a given requirement. But if you are seeking an exceptional physical therapist, there are some additional traits to look for in your provider.

Identifying a specific dysfunction takes natural problem-solving skills, and an exceptional therapist uses keen observations, deductive reasoning, and asking the right questions to get to the root of the issue. Any therapist can give a general exercise program to strengthen an area, but drilling down to the key problem to fix the issue takes a higher amount of skill and tenacity. For example, if a patient attends physical therapy with runner's knee, a program that exercises every muscle around the knee may hit the dysfunction, but it also may not resolve it. Using clear differential diagnosis skills and testing, the exceptional therapist will be able to address the exact cause of the pain, be much more specific, and ultimately much more successful. This allows the runner to return to training more quickly and efficiently.

Having the patience and proficiency to zero in on the source of a patient's pain is just one piece of the puzzle - the therapist has to be able to form a connection with the patient as well. The ability to establish rapport and a strong patient relationship early on is essential for the patient's success. A sense of understanding, empathy and sincerity helps patients feel as though they and their therapist are equal participants in their recovery. With a humble disposition, the exceptional physical therapist puts the concerns of the patient first and honestly wants to make a difference.

At Lakeshore Physical Therapy, our therapists average 12 years of experience (I did my share to elevate that average)! They are naturally gifted, but also take care to cultivate their talents to provide care that goes above and beyond rehabilitation. We realize that decisions about a patient's health should never be just another case or a job and we do our best to convey that every day.