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How to Pick a Physical Therapist for Back Pain

Learn how to pick a good physical therapist from physical therapist Eric Sampson in this Howcast video.


Selecting a good physical therapist is quite similar to selecting a good lawyer or a good accountant. There are good and bad in every profession.

The first thing you want to look for is the experience level of the therapist. How long have they been treating that particular type of patient or body part goes a long way. When we're in school, we're just learning the basics. We're learning how to be professional and we're touching upon all the different aspects of physical therapy, whether it's the geriatric population or the orthopedic population. We're learning how to do a range of motion testing and strength testing and posture assessment, but we're not really fine tuning any of these skills. The experience level, moving on with your education, continuing your education with courses and conferences and seminars, hopefully finding your niche and becoming certified in a technique. That's really where you're going to see the big, big difference in your treatments and how you're able to help these patients.

So, the first thing you really want to look for is not necessarily what degree and where they got it, but where have they been working and how long have they been working with that population. That should really clue you into whether or not this therapist has what it takes to fix this condition or help manage this condition. The best way is probably going to be to ask the front desk when you call to make an appointment. Are you being set up with a therapist that has been working in this facility for a long time? Working with this kind of patient population for a long time?

Unfortunately, it is a little hit or miss. So, I think asking the right questions with the front desk, then asking the therapist how long they've been doing it for is not a bad idea because they really should be skilled at their job. You hope that they are. Your body is at risk if you're not in the right hands.

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