5 signs of a bad physical therapist

If you’ve ever experienced pain from a physical injury, you likely have sought treatment from a physical therapist near you. Physical therapy can be a great way to support your recovery from injury because it addresses pain and other symptoms at their core. But, you may come across a physical therapist who isn’t the right fit for you. Perhaps you feel like you are not getting personal care and attention. Maybe you’re not seeing the results you would’ve liked to see at this point in your treatment. If you’re concerned about the quality of your care, continue reading to learn more about some of the signs that you might have a bad physical therapist.

What is physical therapy?

Knowing what physical therapy is can help you identify the warning signs of a bad physical therapist. 

Physical therapy focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems. This can include muscle injuries, chronic and acute conditions, and movement dysfunction. Physical therapists use specific treatment techniques to restore mobility, improve range of motion and decrease pain.

Physical therapy can include:

  • Exercises that involve active movements that you do on your own.
  • Guided, passive movements that your physical therapist does for you.
  • Applied pressure and manipulation of joints and soft tissue, either with your therapist’s hands or an instrument.
  • Treatments that use physical stimuli like heat, cold, electrical currents or ultrasound.

Physical therapy can occur in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and more. Treatment also can occur at home. In fact, you can and should use the exercises provided by your therapist at home.

What is the goal of physical therapy?

Depending on the reason that you’re attending physical therapy, treatment can focus on various goals, such as:

  • Improving or restoring muscle function and range of motion.
  • Improving blood circulation.
  • Decreasing pain and discomfort.
  • Improving muscle strength and coordination.
  • Developing healthy habits to prevent future injury.
  • Managing symptoms of chronic conditions.

The goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain, increase movement and strengthen muscles. Another important goal is to show patients how to improve their own health. Physical therapy not only should treat your current symptoms, but should also help prevent future problems or injury. If you feel like your physical therapy sessions are not focused around these goals, that could be an early sign that you have a bad physical therapist.

5 signs of a bad physical therapist

  • You have no rapport with your therapist — You don’t have to be best friends with your physical therapist, but you should feel comfortable with them. You should feel like your physical therapist is a trusted ally in your journey to move and feel better. A positive therapeutic relationship between you and your therapist is an important part of your healing process and continued physical wellness.
  • You have no treatment variety from session to session — Your therapist should be using a variety of physical therapy techniques as part of your treatment. These techniques should also be varied from session to session. If your therapist is using the same exercises every session, it could be a sign of a bad physical therapist. Repetitive movements could not only limit your healing, but could even cause further injury. Your physical therapist should also be using a combination of passive and active techniques. Passive treatments like manual therapy, electrical stimulation or ultrasound can help reduce your symptoms, but active techniques like at-home exercise routines support your long-term physical wellness.
  • You make little to no physical progress on your symptoms — You shouldn’t expect immediate results from physical therapy. It often takes several sessions for you to begin noticing progress on your condition. However, after some time, you should be able to gauge your progress. Your therapist should also be able to make note of your progress and should adjust your treatment plan if you are not seeing results. Pay attention to whether your therapist is taking notes during each session, checking in with you about your symptoms and recording exercises completed. If not, that is one sign that they may be a bad physical therapist.
  • Your therapist doesn’t listen to your symptom descriptions — Your physical therapist should absolutely listen to your symptom descriptions. Listening and understanding your symptom descriptions is a key part of physical therapy. This allows your therapist to identify the cause of your pain or discomfort and design an effective treatment plan to address your needs. Your physical therapist should also listen to your symptom descriptions both during your initial evaluation and every treatment session.
  • Your therapist treats you like another task on their to-do list — Your physical therapist may be a busy person. They are likely managing the care of multiple patients at a time. However, it is the responsibility of your physical therapist to treat each of their patients with a high degree of professional care. A bad physical therapist treats their patients with little regard or sees them as another task to check off their list. If you feel like your physical therapist is not giving you the personalized care and attention you deserve, it may be a sign to seek a new therapist.

You can find top-notch care with our team of physical therapists at Lattimore PT

Is your current provider showing the signs of a bad physical therapist? Rest assured that with Lattimore PT, you will receive compassionate, comprehensive care from our team of licensed physical therapists. Our physical therapists are prepared to give your health conditions and symptoms the attention they deserve. After an initial evaluation, a Lattimore physical therapist will design a dynamic treatment plan tailored to your needs with the goal of not just managing your symptoms, but also promoting your long-term health.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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