Yearly visits to the primary care physician and the dentist are often scheduled six months to one year in advance, and have become non-negotiable annual health “checkups.” The impact of these visits on your health cannot be underestimated, however, you might be overlooking the health of other parts of the body that are vital to proper function and form. When you make the healthcare rounds this year, consider adding a trip to the physical therapist to the list.

Physical therapists are trained to address the specific needs of your musculoskeletal system, which is comprised of 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.

“At East Athens Physical Therapy, our previous patients often will seek out help with any physical concern that comes up.  We enjoy being an integral part of their over-all health and well-being.  By contacting us before a physical ailment becomes severe, our physical therapists can assist our patients back to return of sport or to prior level of function.”  stated Jim Mike Hinzman, PT, Cert. MDT.

Research shows that by performing several types of movement screens, including Gray Cook’s Functional Movement Screen, physical therapists can more fully assess their patients’ functional movement patterns and interpret their strengths and weaknesses. According to a study called “Assessing movement using a variety of movement screens,” it’s important for PTs to combine several movement screening tools to capture a complete picture of the patient’s abilities and limitations.

Whether you’re an elite athlete or just getting started with an exercise program, clinical screening tools help PTs understand how your body performs during a series of movements. Based on the information gathered, the PT is equipped to design an individualized program to prevent injuries.

“In our experience, patients that take control of their health have less long-term physical limitations.  Our physical therapists make a point of never being too busy to screen or talk to our current or previous patients regarding their well-being.” stated Hinzman.

The tests and screens that a PT might perform during an annual checkup to assess your strength, stability and mobility are not all that different from what you can expect during an annual exam with your primary care physician. Just as PTs do, physicians follow a checklist: Check your blood pressure, listen to your heart and check your oxygen level, and then collect blood and urine samples to identify or rule out health issues like high cholesterol or metabolic disorders like diabetes. The information collected can be compared with last year’s results to reveal any inconsistencies that could signal problems. Similarly, during an annual physical therapy appointment, your PT captures an overall picture of your musculoskeletal health that can be compared from year to year.

Published on September 17, 2019 7:43 am