Physical Therapy: Your Key to Wellness!

By Joseph Kandel, M.D.

Having practiced in southwest Florida for more than 20 years as a Board Certified Neurologist, one thing is certain in health care: getting people moving and keeping them active is the key to health care. But there are so many illnesses and injuries that can prevent people from being active; from simple sprains and strains of ligaments and muscles, to arthritis and back pain, and to medical problems such as neurologic conditions, heart, or lung disease. Physical therapy can be the key that can unlock your health!

Physical Therapists are professionals that offer cost effective care that can reduce pain, increase function and mobility, and hopefully decrease or eliminate the need for medications, injections, and at times, even surgery.

Movement is essential for all of us. It helps to reduce obesity and improve metabolism. It is also essential for focus and attention; movement helps decrease depression and improve mood and energy.

Movement also plays a role in maintaining your balance system and independence. By simply walking every day you can reduce your chance of a stroke or heart attack. Physical therapy can also play an integral role in treating many common conditions such as low back pain, neck pain, knee and shoulder joint dysfunction. For example, in many cases surgery can be avoided and medication usage can be significantly reduced with the role of focused physical therapy. This can lower the cost of health care, as well as the side effects of narcotic and anti inflammatory medications (nausea, constipation, lethargy, confusion to name a few!).

Possibly one of the most important aspects of physical therapy is that it lets the patient play a key role in their health and recovery. Having a patient centered plan that is designed and created just for you can be empowering and can be essential in eliminating any roadblocks to recovery.

So what is a physical therapist, and what can they do?
Physical therapists are smart folks; they have completed a college education program and have a graduate degree, either a Master’s or clinical doctorate. They must graduate from an accredited program, and then must pass a national licensure examination. With their extensive knowledge they are an integral component in the health care team, helping to diagnose and examine patients and outlining a treatment plan to limit or eliminate conditions that effect a patient’s ability to move and function.

A physical therapist often works in tandem with a physical therapy assistant (PTA), another licensed and experienced specialist who works directly under the supervision of the physical therapist. This team approach is extremely effective. Working together, they will devise and outline a treatment plan. This may include modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound, electric stimulation, and massage. Also, components of care may be therapeutic exercise, functional training, gait and balance intervention, and proper body mechanics. They may create a home exercise program and in many cases may provide a spinal reconditioning and rehabilitation program.

Common Myths about Physical Therapy
1. Physical Therapy is going to hurt. A study shows that 71% of people that have not had therapy believe this.

FACT: The reality is that if you are seeing a therapist you already hurt. Or have a joint that isn’t working well. Or have spine pain. Or have some bodily limitation. The goal of the therapist is to limit pain and improve function.

2. You should only have physical therapy if you have had an accident or are injured.

FACT: Therapists are expertly trained to evaluate and correct problems before they become serious. They can diagnose and manage disorders including carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and low back pain, headaches, and shoulder problems, just to name a few. AND, they can also treat and strengthen muscles and tendons and ligaments after an injury or trauma.

3. Physical Therapy is not covered by insurance.

FACT: Therapy is almost always covered by insurance. Sometimes there are insurance limits and this has to be in checked with each policy. However, therapy can often be extremely cost-effective; it can reduce the need for medications, it can reduce the need for imaging and surgery. It may also be effective in reducing falls, thereby reducing additional injuries.

4. Surgery is necessary, and it is my only option.

FACT: Physical Therapy can often be as effective as surgery when treating a number of specific conditions. This can include spinal conditions and degenerative disc disease, rotator cuff shoulder injuries, and even meniscal tears in the knee.

5. I can do physical therapy myself, I don’t need a licensed therapist.

FACT: While it is true that the patient has to do the exercises, it is only possible to reach your maximum potential for recovery with an expert, individualized treatment plan.

As this is National Physical Therapy Month, I want to take this opportunity to thank my expert Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Assistant, and Occupational Therapy team for their dedication and care for all of our patients. At Neurology Office, Joseph Kandel, M.D. and Associates, health care is a team approach. We value our patients and the chance to participate in your health care needs!

Our goal is to provide concierge level care without the concierge price.

To see the expert therapy team at Neurology Office, call to make an appointment with Dr. Kandel!
239-231-1414 (Naples) or 239-231-1415 (Ft. Myers) or check out the web site:

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