Many people go to their doctor once a year for a physical…
However, this physical by your primary care physician is not specifically catered to your musculoskeletal system. That’s why you need an annual physical therapy check-up.
Physical therapists are trained to address the specific needs of your musculoskeletal system, which comprises your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective tissues. An annual PT “checkup” can ensure that these essential internal structures are working together to support, stabilize and move your body. During an annual visit, a PT will gather the patient’s health history and perform a series of test and measures, including a screening of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems. Whether you are in pain or not, we can help make sure that you have no issues that will limit you from doing the activities you are passionate about. If you are having pain, we can give you the tools you need to get back on track.
Maybe you’ve had physical therapy before and want to ensure you’re doing your exercises correctly and everything is in working order. Maybe you are getting ready to start working out or training and want to make sure your joints and muscles are in good condition. Maybe you’re having knee pain when you swing your golf club. Your annual PT check-up will help you address any issues in advance so you don’t have to stop your activity and come see us for physical therapy.
Research shows that by performing several types of movement screens physical therapists can more fully assess their patients’ functional movement patterns and interpret their strengths and weaknesses.
At your appointment…
We’ll check your joint mobility, spine mobility, flexibility and strength, and perform an overall movement assessment. If necessary, we’ll provide a home exercise program, activity modifications, or pain management as needed. An annual PT check-up truly is preventative maintenance for your musculoskeletal system. Your check-up is completely individualized and customized to you and your daily activities. During your annual physical therapy appointment, your therapist will capture an overall picture of your musculoskeletal health that can be compared from year to year.
All too often, therapists see many patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions that could have easily been prevented if they had been addressed earlier in life. Muscles tighten, joints stiffen up, and the body compensates. Your body will naturally take the path of least resistance. If you have a joint that is not moving correctly, your body will compensate by increasing joint motion at another joint, which can easily cause a host of problems down the road such as degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, tendinopathies, etc.
One major barrier for people is the misconception that they need a referral from a physician for physical therapy. Your physical therapist has a clinical doctorate degree. The state of Texas has granted physical therapists “direct access,” meaning that you can go directly to physical therapy for an evaluation without a referral, depending on your insurance coverage. Note: The physical therapy check-up is a supplement to your annual physical. It is not designed to replace a visit to or an annual physical by your primary care physician, a substitute for a pre-season sports physical, or to diagnose medical conditions, but a huge part of your health.
People who are annually screened by a physical therapist for movement dysfunctions can significantly reduce the prevalence of degenerative musculoskeletal conditions. Even if you don’t have pain, you should be seeing a physical therapist as a preventative service. Prehabilitation is just as important as rehabilitation.
More often than not, most individuals get too busy or they are simply too tired to take care of their health. If you set up a year-long plan with a physical therapist you will avoid some of the health problems that will develop as a result of living a fast-paced and stressful lifestyle. You will also be more likely to stick with the regimen if you have a physical therapist to guide you on a regular basis.