If you’ve been involved in an accident, have had surgery, or suffer from a condition that limits your mobility, a physical therapist is vital to getting on the path to wellness. That said, not all therapists are created equal.
Finding the right provider for your needs is essential to achieving optimal results. Below are six of the key indicators that your current PT may not be well-suited to your treatment needs.
1. It’s too hard to get an appointment
When you’re experiencing pain or immobility, timing is everything. If it takes a few weeks — or even months — to get on a PT’s schedule, it’s probably time to contact another practice. Delayed treatment not only prolongs your discomfort, but decreases the likelihood of full recovery.
2. Your PT doesn’t provide personalized care
If you sense that your practitioner sees you as just another name in his or her database, or if your caretaker seems rushed during appointments, you might want to look elsewhere. Although it stands to reason that good physical therapists would be busy, they should give each patient their undivided attention.
Before choosing a practice, ask how long the person schedules for each appointment. If the answer is less than 20 minutes, or they tend to double-book patients, look for a provider who can offer you more time.
3. Your physical therapist isn’t certified
To ensure safety and dependable results, physical therapy should only be performed by a licensed physical therapist (PT) or assistant (PTA). If your treatments are primarily provided by aides, unlicensed assistants, or trainers, you should look elsewhere for quality care.
4. You’re not receiving enough active treatments
Physical therapy treatments generally fall into two categories: passive and active. Passive care — such as massage therapy, ultrasounds, or other stationary approaches — can be beneficial, but they should be combined with active treatments like adjustments and exercises.
While passive treatments can only be performed at the PT’s office, active treatments can also be done at home to speed up recovery and regain mobility.
5. Billing is confusing or just flat-out wrong
In most cases, your insurance company will cover your physical therapy bills. Carefully review the explanation of benefits to ensure that the billed treatments are accurate. If you continually see errors, extra charges, or signs of fraud — even after contacting the billing department — it’s time to find a new provider.
6. You just don’t “click”
Given the personal nature of your relationship, it’s important that you and your PT have a good connection and achieve easy communication. If your provider doesn’t seem to listen to you, you feel uncomfortable during your sessions, or you have reason to believe he or she doesn’t have your best interests in mind, you may need a new practice.
7. There’s a lack of experience
On average, a physical therapist has at least 5 years of experience. Of course, they have to start somewhere, and there may very well be skilled therapists with less time in practice. But if you get the impression that a new PT is hesitant, unsure, or unskilled, that should be a red flag.
8. He or she doesn’t care about professional development
In the physical therapy field, it’s essential to participate in ongoing education and training to stay on top of new techniques and technologies. If your therapist doesn’t seem interested in mastering the latest procedures and skills, you may want to seek a provider who is more invested.
Finding a reputable, friendly, and available physical therapist doesn’t have to be a struggle. The keys are knowing where to look, pinpointing your most important items and “deal breakers,” and having a list of prepared questions to ask prospective therapists. Visit Graham Rehab to start your search.