Thursday, January 7, 2010

NY Times and PT

The NY Times has been fairly kind to physical therapy in the past and now I have an issue with what comes across as slightly negative towards PT.

Check out the article here.

This statement is what throws me off:
When I asked Dr. Irrgang for studies showing what worked, I was a bit surprised. To put it kindly, they left much to be desired.

The authors review of the research presented makes it difficult to believe these are the articles Dr. Irrgang would show him. Poor intention to treat and drop out rates along with a study that had a sample of 4 seem like items that would not be presented by the President of the Ortho section of the APTA.

Also regarding the guidelines, the author only brings up the currently published heel pain and the ones currently in production. But they also published neck pain and hip pain guidelines.

Why go to a physical therapist for as many as 20 sessions, though, in order to do strengthening exercises? Why not just go to a gym?

Overutilization does seem to be a huge issue with the state of the economy and insurance money getting tight. I always tell patients that "I am not here to cure you, I am here to help you cure yourself." Even if they come in 3 times a week, that is 3-5 hours out of the entire 168 hours of the week. I am confident in the ability to provide someone with the tools necessary to begin/expedite the healing process and it is up to them to carry out and take care of their bodies.

The evidence seems like it is beginning to catch up with what we are capable of. I think the article does bring out the ugly side of PT that is "voodoo PT". I have seen too many patients who have had bad experiences at other therapy offices and I have been offered jobs at a clinic or two that made me report them to the state board for what to me seemed like highly unethical practice. Another subject for another day perhaps... I have to go pack for Paris, ciao!

(This guy probably needed some PT after this French headbutt - hope I can avoid Zedane)

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