Are You Being Heard, or Are You Just Part of the Herd? - Premier Spine and Sport Rehabilitation & Wellness

Big Box vs. Personalized Care and Its Value

If you’re seeking physiotherapy, you’re usually motivated by a desire to get rid of aches, pains or getting back to living your life and doing the things you love. Maybe you’re even looking for an alternate, more natural route than surgery or harmful medications.

Your problem could be due to an accident, illness, injury, or recovery from surgery. Regardless of the cause, your number one goal is to get back to “normal.” You want to feel like you did “before.”

But what happens if your experience at a physiotherapy clinic doesn’t meet your expectations? As you probably guessed, it can negatively affect your healing process. This situation often happens in a “big box” practice where physiotherapy involves offering patients a one-size-fits-all treatment plan instead of individual and personal care.

In this article, we’ll outline what’s common in the industry and why seeking out personalized physiotherapy is a better option for your recovery. Understanding personalized PT and its value in five key areas can help you make the best choices for your health.

Difference 1: The Amount of Time Spent with Patients

It seems like health care providers across the board are looking to cut costs, starting with the amount of time spent with a patient. Personalized physiotherapy can’t be done if you only interact with the physiotherapist for 10 minutes.

In order to truly discover the root cause of the problem you have, why it’s going on in the first place, and create a plan to keep it from coming back, you’re going to need more time with your physiotherapy provider. 

Some physiotherapy clinics will claim that the appointments are 30-60 minutes long, but in reality most of that time is spent alone connected to a modality like electric stimulation or heat, or working with an unlicensed assistant.

Difference 2: The Appointment Agenda

A physiotherapy who lacks skills or is being pressured to boost the bottom line of a practice may give you the same set of exercises week in and week out, leaving you alone to do them while they assist other clients.

In the personalized physiotherapy space, this is a no-no. It is not helpful for you to sit by yourself in a room and do exercises that could be done at home. Rather, a professional physiotherapist will ensure that your appointment is focused on your treatments.

Each session should look different and the treatment plan should be progressing you towards your goals.  A professional physiotherapist should have a personalized game plan before each session, but have the skills to call an audible and change the direction of the session on the fly if there are any new symptoms or changes in your condition.

Your physiotherapy appointment could include a combination of the following:

  • A discussion of your health history and goals
  • Demonstrations of how to do specific movements
  • Advice on lifestyle accommodations and strategies to prevent injuries
  • Hands-on assistance
  • Situation/sport/job -specific exercises

Difference 3: The Focus of the Appointment

A rushed physiotherapy provider in a big box setting may be singularly focused on addressing your pain symptoms only. 

The problem with this approach is that it lacks a holistic strategy to improve your overall life. Are you trying to strengthen a muscle group for a specific reason? Is there an event coming up that you’d like to attend, but you’re currently unable?

Addressing only the pain symptoms and not the root cause of your problem is only going to provide temporary relief, while ensuring that you would remain a patient for a very long time. “

In addition to shifting the focus of the appointment to you, the patient, the best clinicians realize the importance of treating you like a person with real goals and desires, not just a person in pain.

Difference 4: The Ability to Change Course

A big box clinic usually has specific pre-printed treatment plans and protocols in mind, and those plans tend to be unwavering. With personalized physiotherapy, the patient experience is the top priority. Instead of digging right into what’s on the agenda, a therapist might ask you questions like:

  • “How are you feeling today?” (And they’ll genuinely mean it!)
  • “Has anything changed since your last appointment?”
  • “Is there anything you feel that we could be doing better?”
  • “Do you feel like you’re making adequate progress and your goals are being met?”

Though having a detailed plan is a must, it’s also important to be able to recognize when things need to shift to give patients the best possible chance of a full recovery.

Difference 5: The Commitment to Educational Excellence

Physiotherapists are all required to engage in continuing education to maintain the licenses of their profession. However, those who are passionate about their calling take CE hours because they want to, not because they have to.

Staying up to date on the development of new treatment and therapy options is the goal of continuing education, but physiotherapists can also dedicate time to learning about the latest health care research. They may choose to gain further knowledge and training about patient communication and innovative approaches to dealing with pain.

Taking commitment to education excellence further, physiotherapists have the opportunity to sub-specialize in a particular field, such as orthopedics, neurology, or geriatrics, for example:

“Not many pursue this path due to the rigorous training and hours of committed learning and therefore remain general physiotherapy practitioners.  For example, there are only seven Board-Certified Clinical Specialists in Orthopedic Physiotherapy (By the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties) in Canada, and only three in Ontario. Premier Spine and Sport Rehabilitation & Wellness is proud to have one of them!”

Choosing the Right Physiotherapist

Now that you know the signs to look out for, you’ll be better equipped to choose a physiotherapist who is best suited to address your injury. And, if you’re already a physiotherapy patient, you’ll understand what red flags might prompt you to find a new clinic.

To get in touch with a specialized physiotherapist that puts your needs first, contact Premier Spine and Sport Rehabilitation & Wellness at 289-472-5571 to schedule an appointment or click here to schedule a time to speak with a specialist.