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Posted in Team Finish Line.

January 6th, 2023

Consider Physical Therapy as Preventive Medicine

by Tim Waanders, PT, DPT, FAFS

January has rolled around once again and it’s the start of a new year (Happy 2023!). This is the time of year where people set ambitious goals, change habits, and try to get a fresh start on things we wish we had been doing for most of the year prior. That’s totally normal, we’re all human after all!

Just as it has become normal to annually or routinely check in with your primary care physician, dentist, optometrist, and even specialists such as your OBGYN or cardiologist, it should be considered normal to check in with your physical therapist, too. Physical therapists these days in the United States are doctorate-level movement specialists – experts in their field as one would consider any of the other practitioners mentioned above. 

In the same way it is preferred to see your dentist for a cleaning rather than to fill a cavity or to see your PCP for a wellness visit rather than to diagnose a new disease you were unaware you were at risk for, it is preferred to see your physical therapist for a movement screen or to check in on a nagging issue before it turns into a full-blown injury. This can prevent your rehab & recovery process from taking much longer than it would normally need to and ensure you have a home program sufficient enough to help you reach your goals set for the year ahead. It can also be less costly to you and your insurance coverage, and save you time from having to see multiple doctors before settling on physical therapy. 

Here are 3 more reasons why checking in with your physical therapist on a routine basis is a good idea:

1. Check for risk of injury

The first and foremost reason you should be routinely checking in with your physical therapist is to assess for your risk of injury. Even if nothing is bothering you currently, a therapist that knows your injury history, current goals in mind, and who can assess your range of motion, strength, and movement patterns relative to your future activity levels can determine if there are any impairments or deficits that need to be addressed now before it leads to an injury. Our bodies are always changing depending on current training, change in stress levels, and even how much sitting we are doing – so it’s best to get a routine assessment!

2. Help you set up a plan

Knowing all the information above is only useful if you have a plan in place to address it! Your physical therapist, using his or her clinical expertise and experience, can help you establish a plan and safely progress you so that you can improve upon any deficiencies found and reach your goals in mind. Practicing movements in the clinic with proper form and posture is key to developing the right motor learning skills leading to habits that you can transfer over to your own practice.

3. Have someone to hold you accountable

While working with your physical therapist for an hour or so in the clinic on mobility, balance, or strength exercises is wonderful, it is not going to immediately solve all your issues. As any therapist has told you, doing your home exercise program is the only way these exercises will help you solve the issues addressed during your assessment. To bring back the theme of the new year and resolutions, we all know how difficult it can be to maintain our goals we set for ourselves – whether it be exercise-related or not. Routinely checking in with your physical therapist over the year and having them change your program as needed provides you with someone to hold you accountable and keep you motivated to continuously improve while preventing injury from happening in the first place. 

As the new year gets rolling and you begin to strive to hit your goals for 2023, consider checking in with your physical therapist – especially if it has been awhile. Invest in your health and wellness this year and reap the benefits! To set something up at Finish Line Physical Therapy, give us a call at 212-486-8573 or drop your information here and we’ll get back to you. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2023!

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