Good Therapy vs Bad Therapy

It is sad for me to say, but a large percentage of physical therapy being performed throughout the country is frankly, unacceptable. Many therapy patients are having the majority of their care performed by physical therapy aides (therapy aides have no formal education). Results from this type of therapy are typically poor and reflect badly on physical therapy as a profession.

Throughout my career as a physical therapist, I have heard patients express their surprise when they experience quality physical therapy. Patients, who have been to therapy in the past, comment regularly:

I didn't get treatment like that the last time I went to therapy.
If I had experienced therapy like this in the past, I would have sought care sooner.
Patients state that during past therapy visits they simply did a few exercises and then received some modalities. If your patients are returning to you, from physical therapy, telling you that they only received minimal hands-on care, did unstructured exercise and spent most of their time resting on heat/ice packs while receiving modalities, there is a good chance that your patients are not receiving good physical therapy. They are then likely to blame you, the physician, for sending them to care that wasted their time and cost them money.

Good therapy should involve 30 minutes of one-on-one, hands-on care from a licensed physical therapist, a structured exercise program, patient education, evaluation of posture and body mechanics, suggestions for ergonomic improvement and modalities when necessary.