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Why your PT should be your PCP

In today's healthcare system your Primary Care Provider (PCP) is not what it used to be. In the past, your PCP was your gate-keeper and advocate to your health. Your PCP was in charge of all your medical care, facilitated your care team, and managed your medications. Unfortunately most PCPs no longer have this time to dedicate to their patients. In most cases, they now only manage your medications, if that. More people have multiple specialists, many different medications, and little communication between the providers. As a result, your health plan becomes lost in the shuffle.

However, when under the care of a physical therapist (PT), you may see that provider up to 3 times a week. Your PT gets to know your medical team, medications, and your general health picture. Your PT has the ability to help direct your care and communication with your physicians. In addition, PTs are trained in all the body's main systems - neuro, cardio, and musculoskeletal. They are trained to identify malfunctions in these systems and can help provide referrals to the appropriate providers. Although PTs cannot prescribe medications, they are trained to understand them, their interactions and precautions.

Because your PT gets to know you so well, sees you very often, and has the medical knowledge, they make a great fit for the PCP role. So here are 3 reasons you should get your own PT and work with them to facilitate your health.

1. PTs provide the most consistent healthcare services: Most people will see their PT 1-3 times per week over a period of a few months. Many people will also return to the same PT for multiple diagnoses and injuries. As a result, the PT best knows your medical history, health habits, and lifestyle. Your PT will also keep on eye on your medications, other medical procedures, and medical visits.

2. PTs are trained to understand the body and speak the medical language: Your PT can help interpret X-rays, MRIs, and test results. They are trained to identify warning signs for other healthcare issues or problems, and will be able to communicate these to the rest of your medical team. Your PT will examine your entire body, not just the injured area. And your plan of care will address the whole body. Because PTs do not specialize in a body part, they can integrate your care.

3. PT treatments are non-invasive and safe: Because PTs are trained to understand the body's biomechancis, they can help you identify and improve your movement. In turn, you will move better, feel better and have a better understanding of your body. PTs treatment plans are generally holistic, do not involve medications or surgery. PTs will help you move joints better, teach you how to stretch properly, and develop safe exercise programs.

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