How do you get rid of "enter your pain here?" This is the age old question everybody wants answers to. This question gets funneled to physical therapists all the time through social media, phone calls, family members, friends, and face to face interactions with patients.
It is also a question many of us hate to get. Not because we are not knowledgeable on how to help get people out of pain, but rather it is an impossible question to answer without a proper movement assessment.
Every patient who steps into our office presents with different movement impairments, have different pain experiences, and responds differently to treatment. This goes for two people with the exact same injury. Take for instance two people who go to the same provider post ACL surgery; their rehab will look similar, but they will also have their fair share of differences.
So yes, your PT may hate this question when asked, but I think you should still ask it. Here's why.
This question is an entry point into starting a conversation with your physical therapist to figure out if he/she can indeed help you. If your PT answers this question with fair certainty of what he/she could do before you are evaluated, he/she is full of it. There are too many variables within the human body for anyone to predict the outcomes of your rehab without at least talking to you and watching you move.
Secondly, this can segue into a conversation about the style of PT that they offer. Are they a manual based clinic, do the focus on athletes or the general population, maybe both, or neither. Ask questions like; what is your style and/or philosophy? What are the expectations of me under your care? And have you seen others with my condition? The answers to these questions should align with your goals and make you feel more confident in the person’s skill set. If not - call the next place.
We shouldn’t just be seeing the physical therapist in close approximation to our house/workplace. We should treat seeing healthcare providers like consumers; checking Yelp/Google reviews, asking questions to those that will be treating us, and getting recommendations from friends and family.
If you ask the above questions and do your research, you should find yourself with good care during your next trip to a PT. This will prevent bad experiences that could make you fearful or regretful for seeing us.