I get asked a lot about various types of manual treatments, and in general how I go about working with “insert patient body area here.”
One of the first things I ask when is seems treatment is taking too long, or not working, is “what’s is the client’s home program like – and are they educated?” The next question is “what treatments are they using?” This relates to what I want to talk about today because the misconception is that more is better. In fact it is exactly the opposite, and over-treatment can be a problem – making sure that a simple approach is taken often results in the best outcomes.
1) You are treating more than 2 areas per treatment on the first visit. If your client has more than one thing going on it is important to make sure that you focus on only one or two things at a time. Also make sure that you’re only giving your patient exercises that he/she can do on your own at home. Another important thing to remember is that your evaluation should take about an hour, the education portion of the appointment should be between 30-40 minutes, and the actual treatment portion will only be between 5-10 minutes.
2) Too much time spent in one area. It is important so that you make sure you are not spending too much time in one area. When you do more treatment the treatment is more likely that you are going to over-stimulate, which is something that you do not want to do.
3) You actually forget to address the patient’s complaints. Make sure that you are listening to your client, and that you’re paying attention to the areas that they are worried about. If they keep asking you “when are you going to treat ___” then give that area some attention asap.
4) Your patients homework reads like a book. We know that treatment does not stop when the session is over, but you need to make sure that you are keeping their homework assignments simple so that they actually take the time to complete them. Just remind yourself that “less is more” when it comes to homework – if it’s manageable chances of them following through are higher.
5) Most of your a patients are sore after your treatments. If you are being told by your patients that they are sore after their sessions with you you’re overdoing it. Of course for strengthening and conditions being sore is normal, but for anything else make sure to ask. If they report soreness then something is off and you need to re-adjust your treatment plan. It would mean that things are moving too rapidly, so slow it down.
Believe me – we all make these mistakes over the years, I just thought it was important to highlight some of the things I learned the hard way. Keep these things in mind when you’re working with your patients and you’ll always be on the right track.
If you’ve been considering starting physical therapy and have some questions please give us a call – or fill out our contact form – we would be happy to help you.