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Signs of a Bad Physical Therapist

Triangle Region / 11 May 2023

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by EmergeOrtho
Signs of a Bad Physical Therapist

Are you looking for a physical therapist to help manage your loss of function due to pain? It can be hard to know who will provide quality care. If you are not careful, you may end up with someone who is not well-qualified or experienced and could make your condition worse.

It is important that every patient trusts their physical therapist to provide safe, effective treatment. To ensure they deliver on these expectations, it is worth knowing what makes a bad physical therapist from other health-care providers working in the same field.

Signs You Have a Bad Physical Therapist

When it comes to physical therapy, it is important to make sure you are working with a qualified and experienced professional. Here are some signs of a bad therapist:

You Are Not Making Progress in Physical Therapy

If you are not making progress with your physical therapy, it could be a sign that you have a bad physical therapist. While your expectations should be realistic, not seeing any progress is a problem.

A good physical therapist should be able to assess your condition and develop an effective treatment plan that will help you reach your goals and achieve normal daily activities again.

Additionally, if your physical therapist is not keeping track of your progress, it may be a sign that they are not taking your treatment seriously.

A young female physical therapist helps an older male patient stretch as he rolls back on an exam table.

You Get the Same Treatment at Every Session

If you find that your physical therapist is giving you the same treatment at every session, you will not progress. You can expect some repetition, but you should also have variety. Doing the same exercise over and over again will not lead to progression and could even result in repetitive use injuries.

Your physical therapist should also be able to adjust the treatment plan as needed to ensure that you are making progress. If your physical therapist is not doing this, it may be time to look for another one.

They Do Not Listen to Your Concerns and Goals

A good physical therapist should always take the time to listen to your concerns and goals. This begins with the first session during which they evaluate you and continues through each and every appointment.

Only when a physical therapist is able to understand your needs can they provide the best possible care. It is true that the therapist is the professional, but they also need your input to create a plan that will get you to your goals.

They Only Provide Passive Treatments

Passive treatments, such as heat and cold therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, massage, and manual therapy are important in physical therapy. They help warm up the body, provide pain relief, and more, but they should not be the only kind of treatment a patient receives.

Active treatment is any physical activity or exercise that gets you moving, and for the vast majority of patients is essential for making improvements. Exercises build strength and provide you with a way to work on your recovery at home.

You Feel Much Worse After Physical Therapy

If you find that you feel worse after physical therapy treatment, it is not necessarily a sign of a bad or negligent therapist. Therapy is hard work, and you might feel some additional pain right after a session. Recovery time from a session is typically just a day or two.

However, you should not feel much worse or experience significant pain. If you do, your therapist might not be fully qualified or experienced. Qualified therapists have a physical therapy degree and are licensed in the state in which they practice.

If you experience increased pain or discomfort after physical therapy, it is important to speak up and let your physical therapist know. If the pain persists, switching therapists to find someone who can provide better care might be necessary.

The Therapist Does Not Spend Much Time With You

A bad physical therapist may not spend much time with you during your sessions. They may rush through the treatment and not take the time to assess your condition or develop an individualized treatment plan.

While assistants play important roles in physical therapy offices, beware of any therapist who consistently hands you off to someone who is less qualified.

A quality physical therapy session should be hands-on, educational, active, and involve plenty of one-on-one time between the patient and therapist.

What Makes a Good Physical Therapist?

If you are not satisfied with your current physical therapy, it might be time to find someone new. A good physical therapist should:

  • Have compassion and empathy toward their patients
  • Listens to their patient’s goals, concerns, and needs to create an individualized physical therapy program
  • Help patients develop clear and attainable goals for therapy
  • Be experienced with and use a variety of both passive and active treatments
  • Educate their clients and provide home exercises
  • Be fully trained and licensed
  • Provide each patient with adequate one-on-one time without distractions or double booking

Physical therapy is an important part of orthopedic care. Good physical therapists provide treatments that help patients heal and recover from sports injuries, illnesses, and surgery.

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, our physical therapy clinic is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable professionals. If you are in the market for a new therapist who will help you achieve your goals, we encourage you to self-schedule an appointment. Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

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