We often see them way too late. We start out trying to "play catch-up" to a limitation. This is the nature of rehab to one degree or another.
In my clinic I am often months late... sometimes years late to being allowed to address an issue. 6 years of pain and medication and just now making it to the clinic, for example, or 4 months after a shoulder-strain injury at work. You name it, and I'll basically state the same thing to myself: "Sure would have liked to address this earlier on in the process."
We all value early access to help people, across all settings in physiotherapy. Similar to a stain on the rug, dirt on your car, or a chair left out in the rain... addressing problems early lessens the impact of an issue.
The acute care PTs know that early ambulation and mobility reduces longstanding difficulties due to hospitalization. Home Health PTs know it's beneficial to get in to the home early and ensure they can navigate, as able, their home environment. The early days following a CVA are crucial for the IPR PT. And on. This is not isolated to PTs in gyms, or in outpatient ortho clinics.
So this is something that our profession is trying to improve upon this decade. Enter the GetPT1st movement.
The next #GetPT1st event is March 1st, 2016. If you haven't participated in one, it's pretty fun and easy. You simply share what you love about PT, how PT helps the community, how it has impact on people. Do this in any way that you wish, the main point is to engage your community, your network. (use #GetPT1st in your post on whatever medium: Twitter, FB, Insta, etc)
Much of your community does not know what you do or how you might help them (in any aspect) or the value you can bring to their life. Heck, it is likely that your own family is confused as to what you contribute to the health of the people you interact with.
Perhaps the information you share will aid the public in getting the skilled coaching and instruction they might need early enough to make a meaningful impact. Armed with knowledge and inspiration, perhaps both PTs and the public can meet earlier in the healing process.
-Matt Dancigers, DPT
Links: http://getpt1st.com/ and Facebook GetPT1st March 1st Event and @GetPT1st on Twitter and PTBrainTrust #GetPT1st post from June '15
Interested in live cases where I apply this approach and integrate it with pain science, manual therapy, repeated motions, IASTM, with emphasis on patient education? Check out Modern Manual Therapy!
Keeping it Eclectic...