What is Physical Therapy and why do I need it?
A Physical Therapist is a licensed health care professional that are required to earn a Bachelors or Masters degree in Physical therapy in years past but in the past 12 or so years has transitioned to the degree of Doctorate of Physical Therapy. The Physical Therapist Assistant is currently required to earn at least an Associate of Science and all of which must be licensed in the state or states that they practice. The job of the Physical Therapist and the assistant is to rehabilitate, motivate and educate patients to enable every patient to resume a normal life and prevent further injury.
Physical Therapy has often been thought of as something we have following surgery. This is one of the many reasons to seek physical therapy however this is a partial misconception and physical therapy should be considered as one of the first choices in your initial steps to feeling better. In our medical community we have seen that the pattern of prescribing medications first can often lead to a path of reliance on opioids as well as various other prescription dependencies. In-fact research has shown that in cases of back and joint pain as well as for treatment of vertigo and many other conditions if treated by a licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant patients often begin feeling better within several visits without the need for prescription medications. Throughout our lives we experience sports injuries, work related injuries, automobile accidents, and various medical conditions that severely limit our ability to live a normal life. The use of a Physical Therapist to thoroughly examine and assess each patient and develop a specific plan of care to address the findings and should immediately lead each patient down the road to recovery. All physical therapy facilities are not the same and you should call or visit the facility to determine if the facility is the right one for you. Some facilities are high volume and others are still dedicated to one-on-one care so you should make an informed decision as the best for you as it is “your” choice as long as your insurance is accepted.
Why am I so dizzy and what should I do about it?
There are times that we feel dizziness and there are times that we feel a severe spinning sensation. Generally we just assume that it will go away and at times it does in a day or two. When the symptoms continue or they are so severe we should seek immediate medical attention often leading to a trip to our local Emergency Room. It is best to see your Primary Care Physician to rule out any serious health conditions as well as to review medications you may be taking.
One of the more common conditions that are usually characterized by “spinning sensation” is called Vertigo. True vertigo involves the inner ear where a bony fragment dislodges and begins to free float through one of the three semi-circular canals of the inner ear usually provoked with rolling side to side in bed or turning the head as well as looking up or down for extended periods. The Physical Therapist with the appropriate training can successfully identify the source of the vertigo with a high degree of success. With appropriate testing and identification of the source the treatment is generally successful with no more than two treatments. Some have heard of the Epley Maneuver which is used most commonly however it is most effective when treating posterior canal involvement of the inner ear. So many patients want to know why they have it which isn’t always clear however conditions such as Osteoporosis as well as failure to adequately hydrate are common contributors. As a word of advice be consistent with prescribed blood pressure medications as this can lead to dizziness but not usually spinning due to sudden changes in blood pressure with changes in position. Don’t suffer for weeks at a time taking medications just ask your physician for a referral to Physical Therapy so we can get you back on track.
Occupational Health & Physical Therapy
The Occupational Health and Physical Therapy Program at TPT Physical Therapy has been developed to effectively treat injured workers from acute onset to those with chronic conditions. Each injured worker will be evaluated by a Doctor of Physical Therapy based on the physician’s diagnosis and through differential diagnosis and testing a treatment diagnosis will also be provided. The patient will be classified as acute onset or chronic in nature and a comprehensive Plan of Care will be developed to allow he/she to return to their prior level of function to perform at a level described in their job description. If it is determined by the Physician that the patient is not appropriate for return to their prior job duties we will work with Case Managers and Employers to prepare their injured worker for the physical demand category of another job as indicated by the employer. Should the injured worker meet the requirements for Work Conditioning we have a comprehensive program developed to address issues of flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, body mechanics and work-related function to ultimately facilitate safe return to work.
In an effort to expedite getting the injured worker well our patients will always be treated one on one by a licensed Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant under the onsite supervision by the PT. This allows appropriate intervention and supervision to determine improvement or lack of improvement in a timely manner so that the case manager is immediately notified to determine if return to the treating Physician is indicated. This practice is in the best interest of the injured worker and ultimately a cost saving measure to the employer.
Through appropriate safety training and onsite educational seminars we at Trittschuh Physical Therapy are dedicated to not only treating the injured worker but also teaching employees how to prevent injury in the work place. Should you need our Physical Therapy Services we have two full time Doctors of Physical Therapy that should allow us to schedule an injured worker within 48 hours of notification.
What is Osteoporosis and Osteopenia?
Osteoporosis and Osteopenia (brittle or softening bones) have often been treated by physicians with various medications, calcium and vitamin D. These combinations have been very effective in slowing the progression of bone loss. One of the misconceptions is medications and diet changes are the only options for treating this condition often called “The Silent Killer”.
When bones become brittle or weak the chances of fractures increase considerably. Many physicians don’t consider the option of utilizing Physical Therapy in conjunction with the prescription regimen. The Physical Therapist can perform a full body assessment noting any physical deformities or postural changes then begin the process of educating patients on activities or even exercises that put them at high risk for injury. The debate continues in many cases as did the fracture of a hip cause the fall or did the fall lead to the fracture. Often the exercises we are taught and perform may be more harmful then good such as seated exercises and bending forward to touch our toes that increase the risk for a spinal compression fracture exponentially. Our clinic has adopted the Meeks Method which is a proven method of helping to educate patients in the appropriate exercises, teaching safe body mechanics for every day activities, postural education all of which are shown to improve or at least maintain bone density reducing risk for serious injury. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for a referral to Physical Therapy if you have been diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. If you are unsure if you have one of the conditions and you have noticed a significant height reduction, received radiation or chemotherapy, post menopausal, used tobacco products or drink alcohol excessively ask your doctor for a bone density test so a baseline is available for future testing.