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Chasing Pain Is A Waste Of Time And Money

Patient Focused Physical Therapy

In today’s healthcare climate, it seems that the majority of medical practices are spending less and less time with their patients. Higher deductibles and co-pays, but fewer minutes spent with the patient. When a physician does not take appropriate time to thoroughly examine patients, misdiagnoses occur. This leads to mistreatment, longer time spent treating the issue, and more healthcare dollars spent. This scenario happens far too often.

A Scenario

You notice a light bulb is out in the lamp in your living room. You change the bulb – but the lamp still doesn’t work . So you try a different light bulb – it must be the light bulb, right? Try another light bulb. You are still in the dark.

But then you notice, the clock is out on the oven and the fan isn’t running. You check the breaker and flip the switch – and suddenly you have light again. It was never the light bulb- even though that was your first clue that something was wrong. You very well could have decided to unnecessarily spend money to change out a good functioning lightbulb without recognizing the breaker was the stemming issue.

Throughout the course of my career I have had countless patients walk through my door with a prescription that says something like “shoulder pain/rotator cuff tendinitis” or “hip pain evaluate and treat” and the body part identified had no root cause of the issue at hand. When someone points to their pain saying “my shoulder hurts” or “my hip hurts,” that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where the issue is stemming from. Too many medical professionals have decided to “chase pain” which is the notion that the location of pain is the source of the problem. Through a thorough examination with adequate time spent ruling in and out root causes, a medical professional can identify the issue and then treat it more effectively. Take for example the 55-year-old office manager coming into the clinic with a prescription that reads “Shoulder pain Evaluate and Treat”

Why A More Personal Approach To Physical Therapy Is Better

One thing to keep in mind is that our extremities are innervated by the nerve roots coming out of our spine, and the way our muscles fire and the sensations felt in our extremities have everything to do with the nerve roots coming out of the spine. If there is some disruption in the communication from the nerve root to the muscle controlled by the nerve, then we would expect that muscle to not fire properly, fatigue faster, go into spasm, develop tendinitis, hurt, and possibly have some swelling.

 We can work on that muscle alone all we want but if the communication between nerve root and that muscle isn’t changing, then most likely the problem isn’t changing. It goes back to our analogy when you decided to change out a good functioning lightbulb because the light wouldn’t turn on, but you never checked the breaker box first to see if that’s why the lights weren’t turning on.

In this example if we find in our examination there is neck involvement and treat the neck alongside the shoulder, your rehab time just got a lot shorter and you saved money too! You also don’t have to deal with the pain for more weeks, months, and potentially years. And even worse, if that problem went undetected for too long, one would be more susceptible to weakened shoulder tendons and be susceptible to tearing, and subsequently more susceptible to surgery and again more rehab. It’s a domino event that could have all been prevented if time was spent on that first session with a comprehensive evaluation/examination. This domino event unfortunately happens every single day in the current healthcare climate and is part of the reason there are billions of wasted dollars. Don’t be one of these statistics!

1 to 1 Physical Therapy Could Save You Time & Money

The average patient spends 1,000 dollars for 10 visits of PT. The average cost of 1 MRI is $2,611. The average cost of a years supply of opioids is $6,754. Seeing your physical Therapist first can reduce patient costs by 50%. A 2015 study by Health Services revealed that if a patient had an MRI first vs. Seeing a physical therapist first, they spent on average $4,793 more in associated healthcare costs. Please keep in mind that you can see a PT first without a prescription. Not to mention that the average wait time to see a physician is up to 24 days. Save yourself time and money by choosing PT first!

I am proud to work for Elite Physical Therapy and Wellness LLC, a company that does NOT fall into the healthcare norm of pushing patients through the doors like a factory. Adequate time is spent with each patient 1-on-1 so that every patient receives the most accurate diagnosis, and subsequently, the most effective treatment. Each treatment plan is individualized to the patient, their specific needs, and goals. There is nothing cookie cutter about it. Every patient deserves quality when it comes to healthcare.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I wish you nothing but great health and wellness for years to come.


Emilio Galis DPT Owner of Elite Physical Therapy and Wellness LLC