American Physical Therapy Association

CSM Wrap-Up

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Last week, I attended the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). CSM is the largest national conference which the APTA hosts. This year, the conference was in Anaheim, CA, and over 11,000 people were in attendance! This post will be a brief summary of my conference take-aways.

Two of the sessions I attended were clinical in nature. One involved how to incorporate pain science education into clinical care, and the other was about exercise prescription for neuromuscular re-education. The pain science session was incredible! Physical therapists are experts in helping manage musculoskeletal pain, and that includes chronic pain. There can be changes in the nervous system itself, causing the system which is responsible for helping us feel pain to become extra-sensitive. When this happens, you have to treat the alarm system (i.e., the nervous system) too. This won’t work though if the patient doesn’t understand what is contributing to their pain. Their pain is real, but it may not be just from the tissues. This session gave me some strategies to help teach my patients about pain in a way that is effective.


The other clinical session which I attended was about exercise prescription. My biggest take away from this is that many PTs are not prescribing exercise in a way that will result in the desired tissue changes (whether you’re shooting for endurance, power, coordination, etc). So often, the classic “3 sets of 10 reps” is prescribed. There is a time and place for that, but we must be clinically reasoning for each and every exercise dose we prescribe.  The speaker also gave us a few clinical pearls from select research papers that can bust some myths about common PT exercises. It’s always great to learn how research is either supporting or negating what we are doing so our practice can continue to improve.

I went to a few business sessions, and lastly, I went to some soft-skills sessions. I attended one patient panel and one lecture on relationship-centered care. The big take-away here is that we need to remember that we are treating people, not just “the total knee” or the “neck pain” guy. Every person has a different story, and we have to understand that story to best connect with them. We have to ask the right questions AND listen. By first developing the relationship, we will have the best chance at the helping the person achieve their goals and enjoy the therapy process.

I will begin to implement the things that I learned immediately and I will share what I learned with my colleagues. If you have any questions about what I learned or what else was happening at the conference, feel free to ask in the comment section!


Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

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October is National Physical Therapy Month. I’d like to share some information from the American Physical Therapy Association about how physical therapy can help our population #AgeWell.


Check out nine tips on how physical therapists can help you!

If you have any questions about physical therapy, please comment or contact us! We’d love to tell you more about what we do and how we can help you (no matter what your age or injury/illness). Find our contact info at our website.

Physical Therapy Myth #7: I can do physical therapy myself.

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Physical therapy myth #7: I can do physical therapy myself

Really?– how well does that work out for you?
I had a patient tell a friend: “Dude, you can’t rehab your (surgical) ankle fracture from stuff off of YouTube. Go to MOSAIC”.

diy pt 1 (sample of what you may find if you search for “do it yourself PT”)

Physical Therapy is not just about “exercise”- there is a huge clinical decision and diagnostic piece, that the lay person would be missing if they did it on their own. Make sure if you have movement issues, see a skilled physical therapist- to not only address the present condition, but the reason for it.

Fact: Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your therapist will leverage his or her specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.

Physical Therapy Myth #6: Surgery is My Only Option.

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AWESOME hamstring tear- the MD diagnosed it as Sciatica- the patient told her- I have pain in the back of my leg. The MD never even looked at the patient's leg. Taping, manual work and graded exercises had this patient back on the tennis court in 6-8 weeks.
AWESOME hamstring tear- the MD diagnosed it as Sciatica- the patient told her- I have pain in the back of my leg. The MD never even looked at the patient’s leg. Taping, manual work and graded exercises had this patient back on the tennis court in 6-8 weeks.

Myth #6: Surgery is My Only Option. Not necessarily– (see my baby rant below)

Fact: In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. Those who have recently seen a physical therapist know this to be true, with 79% believing physical therapy can provide an alternative to surgery.

I have had this conversion countless times:
Patient- I need a knee replacement
Me- really- does your knee bother you? Can you (insert- sit, squat, stair-climb etc)
Patient- I can do all those things. It only bothers me sometimes
Me- then why do you think you need a knee replacement (BTW- not a little surgery)
Patient- because my surgeon told me I’m bone-on-bone
Me- but you have no pain….you will for quite a bit of time after

Remember- just because a picture “says” something- it has to match with the complaints. These patients (I can think of 3 in the past few months) have all gotten better with PT.

Now– I’ve also had a patient say- of course you don’t think surgery is necessary, your a PT. Valid point, and there are times when surgery is absolutely necessary! Got a mensicus folded like a taco that wont budge and you can’t bend or straighten your knee- sure have that chunk removed. HOWEVER- I strongly believe that all patients going through elective orthopedic surgery should PREHAB before their surgery- even if it’s just a few visits. The difference after surgery in pain and function is dramatically different.

Phew that was a long post- thanks for reading!

#physicaltherapy vs #surgery #backpain #rotatorcufftear #hamstringtear

Physical Therapy Myth #5: Physical Therapy Isn’t Covered By Insurance

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Adam w.Laura in headlock manualtherapy for headache
Adam w. Laura in a headlock/manual therapy for headache





Myth #5: Physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance


Fact: Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy. Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic.

My team and I are in-network with most providers including Tricare and Medicare- and even if we are not not – most insurance offer out-of network benefits that are still reasonable.

#physicaltherapy is cheaper than most medical services- and we are more fun!

Physical Therapy Myth #4: Any Health Care Professional Can Perform Physical Therapy

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Sally doing manual therapy on the manual therapistMyth #4: Any health care professional can perform physical therapy.

This one gets my blood boiling!

NO!!! Your MD, ND, NP, Chiropractor, personal trainer, or coach are all GREAT at what they do. BUT they do not perform physical therapy. In fact, it is illegal in the state of Washington for any other practitioner to practice or advertise that they practice physical therapy.

Fact: Although 42% of consumers know that physical therapy can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist, 37% still believe other health care professionals can also administer physical therapy. Many physical therapists also pursue board certification in specific areas such as neurology, orthopedics, sports, or women’s health, for example.

Picture of me performing my near career-ending (his, not mine ) cervical manipulation on Dr. E from The Manual 🙂

Physical Therapy Myth # 3: Physical Therapy is Only for Injuries and Accidents

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keep-calm-and-call-a-physical-therapist     Myth # 3: Physical therapy is only for injuries and accidents.

Fact: Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. They are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—

Physical Therapist are MOVEMENT specialists. If there is something preventing you from moving well, pain, headache, scar tissue, swelling, poor balance or coordination, etc., we can help!