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Physical Therapy Pet Peeves

Do you know what irks me about physical therapy? Don’t get me wrong, the profession and the goal of helping people is truly rewarding, but there are aspects of physical therapy that drive me crazy.

Here are my top 10 “Pet Peeves”:

  1. People who don’t try their best. This includes both patients and their therapist!

  2. Physical therapists who assign exercises and never place their hands on the patient to determine and try to correct biomechanical imbalances. There is a tremendous amount of education that goes towards our degrees which sets us apart from well-trained personal trainers who can also do an excellent job in assigning exercises. Physical therapy is beyond just exercises.

  3. Physical therapists who don’t integrate education into their rehabilitation. An assessment of the patient’s lifestyle is extremely important to determine if there are activities the patient is doing regularly that may be aggravating their symptoms. As a physical therapist, it is our responsibility to educate and empower the individual so that they understand their circumstances and changes are long lasting.

  4. Patients who are not doing their assigned exercises and are expecting faster results. Homework is assigned for a reason; whether to increase your range of motion, build strength so that you can hold changes occurring in physical therapy or rebalance your muscles to prevent re-injury. Statistically, those who are compliant with their home program have better results.

  5. A physical therapist who is not doing their best to figure out what is going on with a patient and still expecting results. Even worse is the therapist being “lazy” and then attributing the lack of progress solely as the patient’s responsibility.

  6. Any healthcare practitioner who doesn’t admit to their limitations and is unwilling to refer out to another healthcare practitioner who may better assist the patient along in their rehabilitation process.

  7. Insurance or financial limitations that prevent the physical therapist from doing what they need to do in the appropriate time frame.

  8. Patients who feel there is no hope. It is understandable that pain can be debilitating and have a devastating impact on your life. However, when the therapist must be an ongoing cheerleader, it takes energy away from directing effort toward rehabilitation.

  9. Extensive documentation requirements that take away from valuable time to treat a patient. Progressively through the years, the paperwork patients must fill out has become more extensive as is the documentation required by healthcare practitioners to abide by insurance requirements and regulations.

  10. Being late. This is both for the patient and the physical therapist. Time is set aside towards your care and is valuable for both the patient and therapist. Being on time is one of the ways that we can show respect for each other’s schedules.

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