Why the Increase in Popularity of Physical Therapy?

We often are asked in the clinic, why or how did you get into Physical Therapy. This is what PT means to me.

PT or Physical Therapy seems to be an increasingly utilized medical service over the past 5+ years due to a shift in what people want out of their bodies. This shift that has occurred in the general public is one that emphasizes the overall health of the entire body which includes the musculoskeletal system: the muscles, the bones, and how they work together. Despite this increase, many people still do not know what PT is or what the point of PT is, other than “just another appointment”.

First Experiences with PT

I had my first experiences of PT growing up doing competitive figure skating. Due to hours of training per week, my body took a beating, meaning I had my fair share of knee and ankle injuries, one concussion, and multiple types of tendonitis due to overuse. My mom, being a Physical Therapy Assistant, was able to help patch me back together most of the time, but sometimes if I had an issue that wasn’t her specialty, I often saw other PTs. When I saw different PTs, I was able to see how different everyone treated their patients. They each had their specialties and different treatment techniques all focused at making me feel better, move better, and do more (safely) the next time I was out on the ice. 

PT isn’t just for Post-Injury

I not only saw a PT when I was “injured”, but I also saw them when I was going through growth spurts as a form of preventing further injury. During growth spurts, I would get uncoordinated on the ice, but doing certain activities at PT helped my body figure things out a little faster. Increased coordination meant less time falling on the ice, which my body appreciated. Whether I was injured or not, I always enjoyed PT because I learned something new about my body and what it could do. My appointments weren’t always full of “sunshine and roses”. I would be sore after some visits, but I understood there would be some muscle soreness before the benefits would kick in.

Advantages of Physical Therapy

Since then, I have been able to experience first hand some of the great things (in my opinion) about PT that mirrors my personal experiences.

1. Most PTs have certain specialties where they have taken increased continuing education over their careers giving them a vast knowledge base for certain topics. Despite having certain specialties, PTs know A LOT about other areas of the body that aren’t in their “specialty” making them a great resource for multiple different types of issues you might be experiencing as a patient.

2. PT is an art and science. I do think, as a PT, you have the benefit and freedom to utilize your skills to help your patients in many different ways by addressing issues/concerns that matter specifically to them in terms of their daily activities and recreational activities.

3. As PTs, we have something that not all healthcare providers have with their patients…TIME. Physical therapists generally have an increased amount of one on one time with patients to hear their concerns, educate them on their current situation, and how we will help them get out of pain to a more manageable level.

4. Many PTs have been in a similar situation as you have. As mentioned above, my interest in physical therapy began after my injuries, and that is how many of us got our start or interest in this profession. We understand pain and management techniques not only on a scholarly level, but also on a personal level, which allows us to relate to you as a person, patient, athlete, parent, grandparent, and/or employee.

5. PT gives you independence. On a patient’s last day, they are almost always appreciative of the help you’ve given them and say that we did everything for them. My reply is usually along the lines of, “You did all of the work, I just helped guide you in getting there”. As PT’s we do many different techniques to help people feel better, but one of the most important things is giving people the ability to learn how to manage their symptoms when/if they return. Being able to independently manage your pain and symptoms is priceless.

Find a great PT you can work with

It is not too difficult to see that I love PT. I grew up with it, I experienced it, and now I live it every day in the clinic. I truly think it is a wonderful profession, a great conservative medical treatment option if you are willing to be patient and put in the work, and a great way to gain independence and control of your pain problem with the guidance of someone else. Although PT may mean different things to everyone, this is what being a PT means to me.

Freedom Physical Therapy Services has many talented and unique Physical Therapists who can help you work to achieve your goals. To schedule your appointment today, https://freedompt.com/appointment/

Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
Erin Bafunno graduated with high honors for her two degrees from Marquette University with Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and as a Doctor of Physical Therapy in 2014. Erin’s treatment approach involves looking at the whole picture of the patient’s problem to determine the true cause of the patient’s pain and then utilize manual techniques to correct the movement dysfunction.