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What To Look For In A Physical Therapist

What to Look for in a Physical Therapist

There are two sides to finding the ideal physical therapist. The first is technical: you need someone with experience. You deserve an individual who can work with you and your medical provider to offer supplementary support to your current health plan. Second, you also need someone you trust, with the right balance of emotional support and encouragement. So in terms of a checklist or for those with questions – what should you look for in a physical therapist? Here are some things to consider.

Medical Compatibility
Remember that you are not only choosing a physical therapist to work with you as a patient, but you are also choosing someone to work with your provider as a medical professional. Although you do not need a prescription or doctor’s note to start physical therapy, surgery and injury-related cases need someone who can collaborate with your team. Most providers can personalize your physical therapy prescription to match your needs, so make sure to have that conversation to voice your own concerns and listen to their advice.

Understanding Credentials
Ever wonder what all those letters mean behind a therapist’s name? Those credentials signify that the therapist has additional training and certifications or has completed a Fellowship. i’move has one of the most highly credentialed groups of therapists in the state of Michigan. For example, 3 of the 40 Fellowship credentialed manual therapists (FAAOMPT) in the state of Michigan work in the i’move Spring Lake location (citation: Find a Fellow). Each of the different credentials that our staff has will be described in a future post.

Different Types of Physical Therapy
There is no single type of physical therapist, just as there is no single type of doctor. While many young professionals study physical therapy every year, the practice itself is a wide umbrella of different approaches and applications. In general, i’move focuses on Orthopedic Physical Therapy. This type of therapy relates to joint and muscle structure and function, whether recovering post-surgery or treating an injury. This focuses on improving a patient’s strength and mobility, earning the ability to move without pain.

On top of credentials, there are also the general practices of Physical Therapy to Consider. We apply two schools of thought:

Manual Therapy is the process of isolating the muscles and joints in need of correction and correcting them through gentle movements or physical manipulation.
Applied Functional Science (AFS) takes a look at how your body moves as a whole, reworking the way patients move to relieve pressure on the joints and eliminate pain. Shoulder pain may not come from the shoulder, and AFS uses the bigger picture to identify the source of your pain, then correct it through movement.

Treatment Options
Don’t fall for a one-trick pony. No two patients are going to respond to the same treatment in the same way, so it’s important to connect with a professional that will tailor your recovery specifically to you. If a particular exercise isn’t working out, you should be allowed to ask for an alternative. Having options is the key to personalized treatment. Post-surgical protocols, for example, are great because they standardize care and apply the evidence on what has worked historically. However, working with a therapist who can customize the protocol to you is important.

A Personal Relationship
Building a one-on-one relationship with a physical therapist ensures you have someone who knows your personal history and understands your needs, lifestyle, and abilities. i’move strives to provide consistency of care and keep you with the same physical therapist or treatment team as much as possible to foster that personal connection. We strive to be the physical therapists you can easily contact outside of your appointments. If you need something, we want to be there. It’s important to choose a physical therapist with whom you feel comfortable and have a friendly relationship.

Clinic Reviews
Finally, before jumping in with the physical therapy clinic and their physical therapists, it is a good idea to check out the reviews. While there will always be outliers, a clinic with multiple reviews can help you gauge the situation before making a decision for yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about i’move physical therapists, you’ve come to the right place. Hear directly from patients on the front page of our website, or take a look at our individual specialists. Requests for a specific physical therapist will depend on their schedule, but we can guarantee that no matter what, you will be matched with a personal, experienced professional who will help you get back to doing the things you love.

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