A Deep Dive into Physical Therapy: What is it and Why is it Important?

Dr. Kevin Kenefick PT, CMPT, MS 

We are all athletes of life. We squat as we rise from our beds in the morning, we twist as we reach for the toothbrush, we push the bedroom door open, we walk to the kitchen, and we pull open the refrigerator door. Movement is essential for us to maintain our independence throughout the day. We also use these movements to compete on the soccer pitch or on the baseball field. Consider the athlete who is interested in preseason or off season training and wants to rehab an injury or prehab their body to hit a personal record. Physical therapists are there for them to do this.

We evaluate gross motor movements like a squat and deadlift and assess what little changes they need to make in order to yield a huge difference. We also look at the fine motor movements and see how they can affect the gross motor function. Bottom line: we look at every movement you make from the second you walk into our office (or zoom call) to the completion of your session. In this blog post, we take a deep dive into the world of physical therapy and show how it can benefit your tenant population –whether they are at your office or at home. 

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What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy focuses on the pre-habilitative and rehabilitative care of patients for any musculoskeletal dysfunctions for bones, nerves, or muscles. Physical therapists are unique movement experts on the healthcare continuum that evaluate and diagnose musculoskeletal disorders for patients and then treat through a multimodal approach. Physical therapists will evaluate and create an individualized plan of care for patients with any traumatic, non-traumatic, surgical or non-surgical musculoskeletal dysfunctions. The individualized plan of care will target simple and complex motor disorders for patients who are seeking to regain their independence. What does this mean? The individualized plan of care will include interventions that will create tangible real-world changes on a pretest, intervention, and posttest model. We do this for all of our patients to ensure we reduce their pain, improve their range of motion, build their strength, and assist them with their specific goals. 

Consider a non-traumatic middle-aged grandparent who has issues picking up their grandkids due to chronic back pain. We have all heard of someone who has chronic pain, unable to live their lives as independently as they wish. Physical therapists will not only treat the back pain; more importantly they are going to help you regain your independence that you lost due to your back pain. A physical therapist will get you back to playing with your grandkids, picking them up, putting them down, getting on and off the floor, and wrestling with them as every young child loves to do. We will build you up to do this without back pain and teach you how to mitigate symptoms when they do occur. It just so happens that we use physical therapy techniques to do this. 

How do we help patients regain their independence? 

After seven years of schooling and more than 1300 hours of supervised training, we receive our Doctorate in Physical Therapy. But, the degree is not the final part. All physical therapists are required to complete continued education for the lifetime of their careers as we further specialize as the musculoskeletal movement experts. During our lifelong pursuit of career development, we learn clinically proven techniques that are supported by research to treat whomever walks in our door. That does not mean we can guarantee a cure for patients; it means we are trained on a deeper level on how to evaluate and treat the musculoskeletal system as an integral part of a patient’s health care team. 

How do we do it? We utilize our hands to manually “dig in” to release trigger points and tight muscles. We know how to stretch and mobilize tissue to reduce soft tissue restrictions. We help mobilize and manipulate joints to improve their efficiency for function throughout their full range of motion. As the body regains the “normal” range, we utilize therapeutic exercises to neurologically educate muscles to work the right way to control the body in their new range of motion. “Normal” is one way to describe an objective range of motion, however what we really do is optimize the body’s ability to function during a multitude of activities of daily living. We teach the “mind to muscle connection” because patients don’t know what they don’t know. We as movement experts will evaluate and diagnose conditions, create individualized plans of care to target gross motor and fine motor impairments, instill confidence in you as you regain your independence, and teach you how to not need us again. But, we will always be there for you. 

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Why is physical therapy important? 

Physical therapists can help any work-from-home ache to any return-to-sport weekend warrior. We make sure joints can move normally, with muscles that are long enough to move throughout that structural range, and we neurologically educate the muscles to know how to control you in these ranges. 

Why do we do it? We do it for you. We do it to improve the lives of any individual who needs our help. Your tenants should have the opportunity to optimize their physical functioning, and they shouldn’t let their pain impact their productivity in the workplace. Offering physical therapy, as part of an integrated building amenity with primary care and mental health, is the future for Class A buildings.

Interested in improving employee access to healthcare?

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