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What Is The Language Of Physical Therapy?

Whether physical therapists want to admit it or not, the profession is suffering an identity crisis at a very critical time.  Direct access (with stipulations in many states) notwithstanding, the level of professional autonomy and earning potential for in and outpatient PTs is not commensurate with cost and duration of entry-level education.  To be fair, achieving legitimate doctoral status will take time, which is all the more reason PTs need to develop a unified message consistent with a professional identity that resonates with the public.  Physical therapy is struggling to incorporate evidenced based medicine while also establishing itself as marketable and relevant.

It is not uncommon to see the self-anointed physical therapy intellectual elite criticize commercially successful colleagues who, in an effort to speak to the public in a language that it can understand, simplify complex phenomenon like pain.  Should private practice PTs be directing their message to other clinicians or directly to the public?  How much deviation from scientific dialect and randomized control trials is acceptable if it helps distinguish physical therapists from health care providers and even non-clinicians who provide similar services?  I don’t have definitive answers but without asking the right questions, the profession will never achieve its full potential.

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Resilient’s View of CrossFit

Greg, Trevor, and I are fortunate to practice at Solace New York, a model Crossfit facility for performance minded physical therapists.  Prior to working out of Solace, I had not spent any appreciable time in a Crossfit facility.  Everything I knew about Crossfit came from the Internet, watching the games on ESPN, and treating a few Crossfitters.  Our experience thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, mainly because the sense of community at Solace is unlike anything I’ve experienced in fitness.  The people at Solace are truly passionate about their own training and more importantly, about creating an atmosphere that motivates their peers.  Even when people are attempting to break their own personal records, the team-first mentality remains pervasive.  The community here has embraced Greg, Trevor, and I with open arms and taken a legitimate interest in what we do.

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Advice For Aspiring Performance Oriented Physical Therapists

The educational constraints influencing physical preparation and physical therapy have led many professionals to question the delineation between the two disciplines.  As mentioned previously on this blog, the boundary between these fields is often more political than practical.  Outside of very specialized situations like high-level track and field and competitive strength sports, physical therapists need to delve into the performance realm to adequately prepare patients for discharge.  Similarly, inpatient and acute postoperative circumstances notwithstanding, performance specialists are often unable to avoid navigating in clinical waters.  Pain is typically regarded as the line that differentiates the performance and the clinical worlds.  However, it is simply unrealistic to expect every hard-training athlete to see a clinician whenever the pain threshold is crossed.  What that line should be is beyond the scope of this post but the point is that the unavoidable overlap between professions had led to the emergence of the performance-based clinician concept.

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What Can A Book About Sprinting Teach Us About Rehabilitation?

The answer is a lot.  If you work with athletes in any capacity and haven’t read Applied Sprint Training by James Smith, I suggest that you do so.  Many of the books cited as “must reads” in the fields of physical preparation and sports medicine are more abstract than practical.  Supertraining, for example, provides an exhaustive theoretical analysis of the rehab-performance continuum.  Read Supertraining and you will realize that no matter how much hype surrounds a particular product or tool, there is nothing new in the field.  The principles have not changed; we just continually seek better ways to apply what we already know.  The application of the current body of knowledge poses as great a challenge as discovering new truths.  Similarly, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers might be the most enjoyable and informative book ever written about the human stress response.  Essentially, training is the controlled application of stress to elicit contextually desirable adaptations.  That said, while books like Supertraining and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers are informative, they don’t tell us what to do, which is exactly what we need sometimes.  I remember reading an article a while back in which Mike Boyle discussed the differences between artists and factory workers.  The best medical professionals and coaches are both artists and factory workers because they concretely navigate the abstract.

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A Comparison of Different Commercial Models of Movement Assessment: Part IV

In part Ipart II, and part III, we covered the differences between the SFMA, PRI, and FRC.  Much like the class at Maverick and Goose’s inbrief at the Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California, you’re probably wondering who’s the best.

Actually, I was just looking for a reason to embed a Top Gun video.

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