Hippocrates, possibly the first practitioner to utilize what is now considered Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy has made an incredible evolution since it’s inception in 460 BC! That far back, it was documented that Hippocrates and Hector utilized water therapy (hydrotherapy) and massage to treat their patients. In 1884, British nurses started the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and then with the injuries incurred from World War 1 and World War II, physical therapy really started to grow. It started mostly with massage therapy and “physical education” that was performed by nurses with some specialized training. As of 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association expects that every PT in America will have their DPT, or Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. This has been an incredible shift from massage and physical education to Doctors that are now THE specialists in the neuromuscular and musculoskeletal system.
An unfortunate shift in the last decade or two are the regulations and limitations that have been imposed by insurance companies. Luckily, physical therapy is covered by insurance, but this only works if you happen to fit into the mold that insurance companies have determined is the correct amount of treatment, visits and progression. Insurance companies have also determined what they feel is a proper reimbursement for physical therapy services, which is about 25% of what physical therapists actually charge. Because of this, physical therapists have been forced to see their patients for much shorter amounts of time and utilize support staff that has minimal training to carry out much of the exercise and modalities.
When I started doing clinical rotations while I was in school, clinics in Montana were still able to see their patients for an hour, and insurance reimbursed for this! That is exactly what I anticipated when I graduated from grad school and stepped into my exciting career! I was severely disappointed…Colorado had much worse reimbursement rates with their insurance contracts, physical therapists in Colorado were paid about 50% of what I was told to expect when I graduated from school in Montana, and I had to see a new patient every 30 minutes.
Fast forward 11 years later – reimbursements from insurance companies have actually gotten worse despite our increasing costs, paperwork and documentation requirements have increased exponentially, and I am seeing patients every 15-20 minutes. This is just plain wrong…how in the world can I be expected to listen to my patient, go beyond the symptoms and actually determine the source of their pain, and then perform a great treatment when I have a new person coming in every 15 minutes? And I had to complete mountains of paperwork somewhere in there…
And then….Solstice Physical Therapy was born.
I LOVE MY JOB!! I am now seeing patients for 1 hour visits and I get to REALLY listen to them – it’s amazing how much you can learn about someone, their past contributing factors and their current situation when you are able to spend that kind of time in a one-on-one and judgement-free zone. When my clients are in a comfortable space with just me, they tell me so many more things that are relevant to their current condition and most of the time they don’t even know that they’re doing it! The conversation just flows, I get to ask as many questions as I want and there is not a crowded gym full of other patients, loud music and 3 other people that I am trying to guide through exercises while I’m working on my current client. It’s pure magic!
Also, at Solstice Physical Therapy, I get to perform specialized treatment techniques that have incredible results, but also require a considerable amount of time. Myofascial release is an absolutely incredible hands-on, gentle treatment that can yield longer-lasting, more permanent results because it concentrates on the fascial system rather than just the more superficial muscular and dermal structures. The fascial system could be a whole other book, so I’m not going to go into much detail, except to say that the treatment works wonders! But it takes about 40-60 minutes to complete a comprehensive treatment, which I was never allowed when I was held in the confines of the insurance system. I also get to utilize dry needling and/or cupping on anyone that I feel would benefit from it (in the last year, most major insurance companies have declined to reimburse for this amazing treatment), and am not limited in the kinds of manual therapies (joint and soft tissue mobilization/manipulation), therapeutic exercises or any other treatment techniques that I see fit. My patients are improving at MUCH quicker rates than they did when I was working in insurance-based companies. I am the same practitioner, but I now have so much more time and flexibility with treatment techniques. I also really have the time to educate people on their diagnosis, the potential sources of their pain, and how they can do their own work to improve themselves now and then prevent pain from returning in the future. Once again, pure magic! Diagnoses that I would usually see someone for 2 visits per week for 8-10 weeks are now having even better results after 4-6 weeks with only 1 visit per week. That is less than half of the amount of treatments and with quicker and better results!
If you have tried other therapies, injections or have even gone as far as surgery without the results that you anticipated – check out Solstice Physical Therapy. Even if you haven’t done these things but have been dealing with pain, tightness or discomfort for a long period of time and things just haven’t gotten any better – come see me!
Check out my website, www.SolsticePhysicalTherapy.com for more information and feel free to contact me or schedule a visit right from the website.