“Standard protocols” and “standard treatments” often seek to treat only symptoms, but fail to treat causes

The human body is an extremely complex and interconnected system, and very often the spot “where it hurts” has a cause that is less apparent. It takes specialized training and a very practiced eye to fully understand and treat the interaction of individual tissues that is truly causing pain or functional limitation. Unfortunately, the “standard protocols” leaned on in many physical therapy settings generally gloss over this essential aspect of successful physical therapy and treat only the painful joint or tissue, regardless of what unique biomechanical factors are actually causing the problem. The result is that pain relief and improved function – if they occur at all – tend to be temporary rather than permanent.

The shortcomings of “standard protocols”

Unfortunately, these types of standardized treatments are the norm in many physical therapy settings. Typically there are two aspects of one-size-fits-all protocols.

First, treatments are applied whose sole purpose is to reduce pain or inflammation. These are also called “modalities” in physical therapy terms, and include electrical stimulation (e-stim), dry needling, massage, heat packs, ice packs, and ultrasound, just to name a few. These treatments can play an effective role in the recovery process of some diagnoses, however they are often relied on in ways that will not result in the recovery you envision. The goal of these “modalities” is often simply the reduction of pain “where it hurts,” with little if any impact on encouraging the various involved tissues to play their correct parts in your unique movement patterns. This means that if you continue using your body in the same way as when your problem developed (and you almost certainly will), the cause of your problem is still untreated, and these modality treatments are unlikely to heal you.

Second, rehabilitative or “corrective” exercises are part of almost any physical therapy treatment plan, but too often physical therapy settings lean on one-size-fits-all protocols rather than having the knowledge, training, and skills to assess and address your unique issues. That is, you may perform a standard group of general “knee” exercises if something in your knee hurts, or a standard group of “shoulder” exercises if something is wrong in your shoulder area. This type of non-specific treatment glosses over critical relationships between your unique moving parts that are essential to achieving the best possible recovery.

In essence, these protocols use a shotgun approach, hoping that the standard list of exercises for the affected area will have the desired effect for your unique issues. Much too often – and you may have experienced this yourself – there is little if any improvement, your PT is stumped, and you remain in pain and/or unable to live the life you want. And because of this, you may conclude that there is no hope, or that injections or surgery are your only options, when in fact a more informed, knowledgeable, and skilled perspective could hold the key to your best recovery.

The Fundamental Motion® difference – Real insights and expertise for targeted diagnosis and treatment

In my early years practicing as a physical therapist I was often disheartened by my own limited ability to help patients reach their goals based on the training I had received during my standard physical therapy education. All too often I felt physical therapy patients experienced mediocre results, and I was left feeling that the entire profession could and should be able to be more effective.

Seeking a better understanding and comprehension of the human body and how it functions, I subsequently spent years engaging in specialized training and seeking insights from world-renowned leaders in physical therapy and biomechanical analysis. This dedication to providing truly insightful physical therapy and achieving the best possible results has allowed me to implement an investigative and problem-solving approach that is much more effective than the one-size-fits-all approach that ignores (or is unaware of) the critical importance of each individual’s unique biomechanics.

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You do not need a prescription to be evaluated or treated by a licensed physical therapist in the state of Maryland. However, you may need one from your insurance company if you plan to apply for reimbursement.

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