Doctor-Patient Relationship

How to Choose the Best Physical Therapist

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In general patients should be aware that having a physical therapist license does not mean one automatically gets good results. The patient should always do their research before choosing the appropriate physical therapist and then request the full attention and the best possible treatment. Many of the patients that I currently treat have gone to other physical therapists before eventually coming to see me.

Rarely do I receive a patient with an ailment in the body that has been treated by a physical therapist that has spent the appropriate time working on them. By this I mean if one has tendinitis in the shoulder or knee, the physical therapist should concentrate on the tendon using a hands on technique for about a half hour, applying the right amount of force, without causing too much discomfort. The patient should never feel so much pain that they want to jump off the table or tense another part of their body, but they should feel a release and relief during the session. One should see the physical therapist’s hands moving slowly and intensely, not hurting the patient but listening to the body and tendon in order respond and aid in the healing process. There should be communication and understanding between patient and physical therapist. The goal of the physical therapist should be to change the position of the tendon and put it back into the right place. This is not an easy task nor does it happen in one treatment. The most important part of the process is to work with an experienced and talented physical therapist.

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My Doctor, My Friend?

All of us want to like our doctors. Certainly we want them to be intelligent and current with medical and surgical procedures and medications. But no one of us wants to face a doctor who is brusque, dismissive and ‘all business.’ We want them to look at us as a whole person, not a set of organs or complaints. In the best of all possible worlds, our doctors would be patient, caring, inquiring of our histories and families, beyond the genetic diseases they may have passed on to us.

Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes, we don’t. A client of mine once complained to her internist that the specialist he recommended for an area outside his expertise was impatient, bordering on nasty. She said: “I looked up his medical credentials and I’m sure he’s very smart but he was officious and rude. So, do I stay with him?” The doctor replied: “You should have both a kind doctor and one with credentials. I’ll see if I can find you one.”

So, what happens if we find that caring and well credentialed doctor, and as our doctor/patient relationship moves on, we develop a mutual friendship? Perhaps we meet outside the office at parties. Perhaps we invite our doctor to our home and our invitation is reciprocated. With the change in relationship, how can we, both doctor and patient, maintain the proper perspective and distancing required to be objective? The answer is: It is very difficult.

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