Physical Therapy in Spokane – What does it take to become a Physical Therapist?

Our Spokane and Liberty Physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals with broad medical knowledge. The current standard for graduating physical therapists is to attain a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from an accredited institution. In graduate school, physical therapy students must take advanced courses in pharmacology, physiology, anatomy, musculoskeletal pathology, integument, cardiology, and neurology, just to name a few. In addition, many physical therapy schools integrate courses with DO, MD, and PA programs. Physical therapists are also trained as advanced wound care specialists inside the hospital setting.

What to expect from your first visit?

The body is like a machine, composed of many different systems.  Our Spokane and Liberty Lake based physical therapist’s job is to look at the whole person and determine what system(s) are responsible for the pain you are experiencing. On your initial physical therapy visit at our Spokane Liberty Lake office, one of our experienced practitioners will perform a detailed evaluation covering your neurological, cardiopulmonary, integument, and musculoskeletal systems. Our practitioners devote an entire hour with each patient to ensure a thorough evaluation. After examination, the physical therapist will carefully design a program specific to you.

What will each additional Physical Therapy appointment look like?

Your physical therapy appointments will vary based on your individual needs, as well as how you are progressing through the rehabilitation process. However, each session will involve hands-on treatment (manual therapy) from the one of our Spokane or Liberty lake physical therapists, which will be supplemented with corrective exercise. In general, you can think of manual therapy as the driving force to correct the impairment/pain. While the corrective exercises are utilized to prevent the pain/symptoms from returning following rehab, each exercise is handpicked to improve segmental strength and to prevent “malalignment.” They are both critical to your rehab!

How long will I need Physical Therapy?

Many aspects go into a timetable for pain relief and return to sport. First, the length of healing is based on the type of tissue that was injured. Tissues with a good blood supply (tendon or muscle) will heal faster than tissues with little to no blood supply (ligaments, cartilage, menisci,…). Secondly, age is a huge determinant in healing time. The older we get, the longer it takes to heal. This is mostly due to a reduction in white blood cells and macrophages. Third, is the patient’s dedication to the physical therapy process. Our Spokane and Liberty Lake physical therapists will be supplying a home exercise prescription to improve specific deviations seen in the initial evaluation. In addition, if one of our physical therapists recommend a short modification of activity, it is important to do so!

Do I only need Physical Therapy after surgery?

NO! It is best to come to physical therapy to try to AVOID unnecessary surgeries. Many times our clinicians hone in on specific “movement faults” that when corrected, can decrease pain and greatly improve function. For example, Harvard University affiliate, Howard LeWine, MD. wrote an entire research paper noting that, “physical therapy is as good as surgery and less risky” in reference to dealing with spinal stenosis. The take-home point is that physical therapists put forth very successful treatments that are science-based and have tremendous benefits!

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