Over the course of the next few weeks to months we are going to start posting diagnosis blogs.
Physical Therapists in the State of New Jersey have been able to see patients, without them seeing their Doctor, AND have their health insurance pay for it since 2003. It is called Direct Access. As part of a Physical Therapist’s education we are trained on how to ascertain if a patient’s problem is related to our area of expertise, a musculoskeletal issue, or if it is something that would require a referral to the correct healthcare practitioner if it is not. Because of this knowledge a Physical Therapist is uniquely qualified to see patients “right off the street”, often times speeding their recovery up by 4-8 weeks vs the traditional healthcare model of seeing their doctors first.
Over the years, our therapists have come across situations where patients have come in for their initial evaluation with a preconceived diagnosis of what their injury is; whether from their own internet searching or from a doctor. However, upon performing the evaluation it turns out the patient was presenting with something different.
In those situations when it does occur, the therapists will explain to the patient what typical signs or symptoms they had been expecting based on their diagnosis and how other patient’s with the same diagnosis have presented. The therapists will then describe to them what their findings came out to be.
The Physical Therapist will follow that with a detailed explanation of the common signs and symptoms of the diagnosis the therapist feels the patient may be presenting with; their Physical Therapy Diagnosis.
For example, whenever a therapist does this, they will explain to the patient how they “connected the dots” between what the patient said, how they present, and why their test results made the Physical Therapist think they have the Physical Therapy Diagnosis.
This is met with a varied response from skepticism to confirmation and everything in between but more often then not most people want to get better and are willing to give it a try.
A recurring comment we’ve heard over the years from patients is just how thankful people have been when we were able to explain their situation in a way that makes sense to them, makes them understand what exactly is going on, and once armed with that knowledge they have reported feeling less daunted moving forward in their recovery.
A few of them are the reason why we decided to start this endeavor, as they encouraged us to get content out on the internet so others in the future searching for what’s wrong with them may get pointed in the right direction.
Now we’re not claiming to be the “end-all” for your diagnosis and treatment needs but as Physical Therapists we do have the particular knowledge and skill set to correctly get you moving in the right direction towards recovery.