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Alternative Treatment

Several months ago, I received a call from an advertiser who wanted to sell ad space in his publication. He gave me the normal spiel of how they reach X number of consumers in X square miles from your business, so your ad really only costs X dollars per potential customer, etc, etc. But then he went for what he thought would be his home run closer: “If you purchase an ad today, I’ll give you an exclusive,” he said. “You’ll be the only alternative treatment in the publication!”

I was taken aback. Physical therapy, an alternative treatment? How could that be? The word alternative means second, replacement, substitute. The alternate gets called when the lead actor comes down with the stomach flu. The substitute shows up when the science teacher goes on vacation. Does that truly describe my chosen profession? Is PT the back-up quarterback of the medical world?

In many ways, the answer is yes. That joke about modern medicine having “a pill for every ill” is funny because it’s really very true. Our country is full of doctors whose best tool against pain and illness is their prescription pad, and they use it to the fullest. Shoulder hurt? There’s a pill for that. Back pain? There’s a pill for that. Medication side-effects bothering you? There’s a pill for that, too.

By contrast, physical therapy is about treating the root cause of the pain rather than masking the symptoms with drugs. You can take all the pills you like, but your back won’t stop hurting until you address muscular weaknesses and adopt proper posture; PT can help you do that. You would think that a treatment that is safe, effective, has no adverse side-effects, and is appropriate for all ages and ability levels would be at the top of most people’s lists.

However, the ugly truth of it is that physical therapy is about exercise. We teach you to lift, stretch, reach, bend, and move. You get out of PT what you put into it – if you work hard, you’ll see rewards, but if you skip exercises or quit early, your recovery will suffer for it. PT is a seven day a week commitment, often for weeks or even months at a time. It’s a lot more work than just taking a pill, and that may be the reason why a lot of people consider it their second choice.

Is physical therapy an alternative treatment? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. It’s not for me. My family and I will always consider PT our first choice for dealing with aches, pains, and injuries. Pills can be an effective tool on the road to recovery, but they should be a compliment to your treatment, not the entirety of it. If you want to find out what PT can do for you, call us and schedule a free assessment. I’ll show you why we’re no second fiddle!

Until next time, keep moving, my friends!

– Alan

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