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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What can a physical therapist do for you? (Part II)

Many people think of PT as something you only do after having surgery. While that is true, a great physical therapist can offer you so much more!

We can reduce your healthcare spend when you see us first

Getting physical therapy FIRST helps 60-70% of osteoarthritis patients avoid surgery (New England Journal of Medicine, 2013). Surgery $$ > PT $$

Patients who get imaging before physical therapy spend $4793 more than those who #getPT1st (

Back pain accounts for 10% of primary care physician visits and $86 billion in annual healthcare spending (Spine, Sept 2009).

Exercise - most any type of exercise - can reduce your risk of recurring low back pain by between 25-40% (JAMA Internal Medicine, Jan 2016).

If you can exercise more (and your PT can help you figure out what exercises you can/should be doing, even if you're hurting) and reduce recurring back pain, that means less money spent every time you have a flare up.

Does that make you think about where you go first when you're having pain and can't do the things you want to do?

By getting to a PT first, you can have your pain and limited function addressed right away, without costly (and often unnecessary) imaging, office visits, and medications.

If you do need to be referred on for any of those types of visits, your PT will get you to the right person and right place the first time, saving you time and money.

Many times, orthopedic or musculoskeletal injuries at the doctor's office get referred to PT as the treatment. Coming to see us first keeps your doctor's office visit cost in your pocket.

We help you figure out an exercise plan that's best for you

Ready to start exercising but don't know where to start?

Maybe you have a history of repetitive or overuse injuries and you don't want to go down that road again (ie: swimmer who always dealt with on/off shoulder pain)

Maybe you're intimidated by just joining a gym and jumping in (if you've never done it before, it can be scary!)

Maybe you have chronic pain or condition and you're not sure what's safe to do (knee arthritis, osteoporosis)

Maybe you have a specific goal in mind and you want to make sure you can get there (ie: completing a marathon)

A PT can help you navigate any of those situations. Physical therapists are exercise experts. PT practices who offer wellness services (like us) can help you get on the right track with your exercise program.

We understand how to load the body in a progressive manner so you don't end up with an overuse injury, something pretty common when starting a new exercise program. We know what types of exercise are "safe" for certain conditions or diagnoses. We can help you address any issues with strength, mobility, and movement patterns that might have been contributing to previous injury so it doesn't become a problem again in the future. We can also work to make sure you're performing at your peak if you have a specific goal in mind.

Coming to see a PT about an exercise plan doesn't necessarily mean your PT will become your personal trainer, but they can help point you in the right direction or recommend a specific type of exercise that would be best for you given your current state and your goals. If pain has been a factor, we can work to make sure it doesn't inhibit your exercise.

We know the importance of exercise for both physical and mental health and want to make sure everyone is able to participate in regular exercise, no matter where they're starting from.

We help you manage and stay active with chronic conditions

If you have a chronic condition - arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic low back pain - or an old injury/surgery that left you with a strength or range of motion deficit, a PT can help you manage it so you can stay active.

Let's give you an example...

One of our patients has been seeing one of our PTs for several years now. This patient is a middle aged runner who initially came in with groin pain. The patient went through a course of PT and symptoms improved dramatically, giving the patient the ability to continue to run multiple marathons and half marathons a year.

After a while though, the symptoms returned and the PT referred the patient to a specialist since the patient had recurring symptoms despite keeping up with exercises at home. The patient was told that hip arthritis was responsible for the pain and a total hip replacement was necessary.

This patient was not ready to go that route and wanted to continue doing PT to see if they could avoid surgery, so that's what we did. We've been managing this condition ever since with only a couple occasional pain relieving injections over the past 5+ years. The patient checks in regularly with the PT, changing exercises as needed based on current symptoms and level of training and has been able to - GET THIS - keep running marathons and half marathons this whole time!

Now, we know there will come a point when conservative care won't cut it anymore and surgery is the only way to go, but we've been able to save this patient from a major surgery (that would ultimately bring an end to their running career) for several years now.

Just because you have a chronic condition doesn't mean you can't stay active. Working with a PT to manage your condition and work around it can potentially give you years more of the lifestyle you want!

We help people with pelvic floor problems such as pain and leaking

Many people hear pelvic floor and think only pregnant and post partum women but pelvic floor issues can plague people who don't fit either of those categories.

Pelvic floor problems can contribute to hip and back pain in active women and men that doesn't resolve with typical treatments.

The other thing that can happen with activity is urinary leakage with impact activities such as jumping, running, or with various lifting activities that cause you to "bear down." Leaking is NOT NORMAL and can be fixed!

Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles, just like many other body parts. Because of their location however, it does require a specialist to treat those muscles. The good news is, they respond really well to PT!

Weakness or tightness or just the lack of ability to use the pelvic floor muscles as they're meant to be used can cause pain in/around the pelvis and back or symptoms such as leaking with activity. Here's the thing though, they are very treatable and you don't have to live with them!

We have Sandy Gibson, one of two certified pelvic floor specialists in all of middle TN in our Franklin and West Nashville offices. She would love to help you out with your pelvic floor symptoms and get you back to 100%!

Head over to our website and click on "pelvic floor" to learn more. We even have a free e-book available to you via email by signing up for it on our website so you can learn more about the pelvic floor!

We can help you avoid surgery with certain conditions

Not every injury or condition needs surgery. Many conditions can be managed conservatively (think, PT) and people can return to full function without ever having to go under the knife.

At Nashville PT, we aren't anti surgery. We're just anti unnecessary surgery. If you don't have to deal with all the risks of surgery and ultimately end up with the same outcome, would you still choose it?

Here are a few stats from the research for you to check out...

Lumbar spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of open spaces in your spine, can be treated just as successfully with PT as with surgery - and with 15% fewer complications (Annals of Internal Medicine, April 2015)

Getting PT first helps 60-70% of knee arthritis patients avoid surgery (New England Journal of Medicine, 2013)

New research shows that PT can get the same results as surgery with carpal tunnel syndrome (Pain, Nov 2015)

In a 2013 study, up to 75% of people with a full tear in their rotator cuff were able to rehab their shoulder without surgery (Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Oct 2013)

People who opt for surgery for the treatment of degenerative disc disease did not experience greater outcomes in pain and disability as those who opted for PT (T. Jefferson Univ Hospital, 2013)

Have we made you rethink surgery yet? It's almost always worth exhausting conservative care before going under the knife.

Surgery is not a quick fix. Many people think they just "go in for surgery" and it's all better but that's just not the case. Surgery often requires lengthy rehab afterwards to get you back to all your activities, not to mention the downtime before, the day of, and recovery after.

If you haven't exhausted conservative care and you're thinking about surgery, give us a try before you do it, even if you've been to PT before. We have a different approach than standard PT. You never know, you just might save yourself from the operating room!

We can improve your balance, strength and mobility

Do you ever feel off balance? Dizzy or have vertigo? Maybe a little weak with certain movements? Or like you're just not as flexible as you once were?

You don't always have to be in pain to seek out help from a PT. We can help you with any of those things!

Balance can be trained and improved, just like your muscles. If you're feeling unsteady on your feet or with certain movements, including symptoms like dizziness or vertigo, a PT can help you with that! You don't have to live with it.

If you have weakness with certain activities and you've tried to hit the gym harder but it's not getting better, there may be something else in your smaller support muscles or an adjacent joint that needs to be strengthened. Your PT can help target those weak muscles with specific exercises so you can continue to make gains with your exercise and feel stronger!

Flexibility can diminish over time. If you don't use it, you lose it applies here. Maybe you're doing a new exercise or sport/activity and notice you just don't have the range of motion you once had. You've stretched until you're blue in the face but nothing is changing. Time to see a PT! There are can be other reasons you mobility is limited than just tight muscles that need stretching. If you've done what you know to do and nothing is improving, go see a PT!

PTs treat more than just pain. We can help you address any issues with balance, dizziness, vertigo strength and mobility. Don't just live with it, fix it so you can stay active!

We educate our patients and make sure they really understand their body and their rehab

Have you ever had an experience like this scenario...

Schedule an appointment for a medical provider. Arrive. Sit in a waiting room for 15, 30, 45+ minutes. Get called back to an exam room. Sit there for 10, 15+ minutes. Provider comes in, spends 5-10 minutes and that's it. Maybe you leave with some sort of plan or maybe not. Maybe you get a referral or a prescription, or maybe nothing at all. You might be left with no answers, no explanations, no questions answered, no plan.

Unfortunately, our medical system is strained and providers are overloaded and can't always spend the necessary time with patients. It's unfortunate and not usually even the provider's fault but that's the way it often is.

That's where we wanted to break the mold. Do things differently. Show patients there's another way.

We want to spend time with our patients. We want to listen to them. We want them to be heard. We want to answer our patients questions. All of them. We want them to understand what is going on, how to fix it, what to expect, what their role is in the rehab, set expectations and set a plan. We want the patients to understand the plan and how we're going to get from point A (where they are now) to point B (their goals).

We love to educate at Nashville PT. Education, education, education. We want to make sure you have a full understanding of your pain/condition and what we can do about it. The more you understand, the more you're going to be consistent and work toward your goals.

If that's what you're looking for in your healthcare experience, choose Nashville PT.

We can help you stay active FOR LIFE

Nashville PT exists to keep you active for life! It's our mission.

We believe in the health benefits of regular exercise and regular activity and want everyone to be able to participate in that, no matter what stage of life they're in.

There are lots of reasons for staying active. It has vast physical and mental health benefits.

"Like your muscles, your bones get stronger when you make them work. Weight bearing and resistance exercises are important for building bones and keeping them strong." - National Osteoporosis Foundation

"Without any other recreational physical activities, walking an average of at least 1 hour per day was associated with a modestly lower risk of breast cancer. More strenuous and longer activities lowered the risk even more." - Dr. Alpha Patel, Senior Epidemiologist, American Cancer Society

Women experience three-quarters of all hip fractures. Staying active across the lifespan can reduce your risk of fractures, falls, and osteoporosis! (

Movement can replace many drugs, but no drug can ever replace movement.

Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It may take less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling (Mayo Clinic 2017)

There is strong evidence for the benefits of staying active for life and we want to help you do just that. Sometimes things hurt and injuries happen. That can make you feel like you might have to give up doing what you love, but many times that's not the case. With the right kind of help, you should be able to get back to it and keep doing it, FOR LIFE!

If you want to schedule an appointment with any of our amazing therapists at any of our 4 locations around the Nashville area, click here.

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