Physical Therapists and Certified Personal Trainers: When and Why You May Need Them

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Physical Therapists and Certified Personal Trainers: When and Why You May Need Them

Has your back been hurting for the past three months and that expensive back massager you purchased online just isn’t cutting it anymore? Have you gained a fair share of belly fat and that extra poundage is weighing you down? Are you looking to improve your health but don’t know how? These are all great, and COMMON, questions people ask in their search for a solution. Problem is, there is a sea of health professionals out there, and it can be overwhelming knowing where to go for help or which professional to choose.

Common on that list are two health experts people often hear about--physical therapists (PTs) and certified personal trainers (CPTs):

Physical Therapists

It might help you to consider PTs as rehab specialists. Physical therapists work with people who have pain or orthopedic dysfunction, are post-surgery, or have developed chronic injury due to muscle overuse. Their focus is rehab. If you stubbed your toe and developed plantar fasciitis and can no longer walk comfortably because of pain at the bottom of your foot, a PT can help! If you graduated from the hospital but are afraid your arm won’t heal correctly after surgery, seek out a PT for rehab guidance.

PTs work with all populations and all ages, from toddlers to older adults, and can be found in private clinics, schools, hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities. They also have the option of using an assortment of tools for your therapy; infrared therapy, electrical stimulation, cryotherapy, ultrasound, dry needling, and astym therapy are a few of their common modalities.

Certified Personal Trainers

Certified Personal Trainers are often considered to be fitness specialists. Would you like to know which exercises would serve your body best? Do you have health goals but have no idea where to start or how to achieve them? Are you one who lacks consistency in your workouts and needs accountability or a designated appointment time? If so, a CPT can help! They are your personal motivators, coaches, and exercise trainers who can also provide basic nutrition guidance and will help you reach your wellness goals. Unique to Body Basics, CPTs are trained in functional movement screening and can identify movement pattern deficiencies and capacities. This knowledge helps them create the most effective plan to help their clients move better and increase their strength and stamina in a safe and effective way. And, with improved mobility comes a reduction in injury and an improvement in athleticism. Physical therapists have a similar evaluation at the beginning of their treatment; however, theirs is centered around the injury area versus the whole body.

Most people don’t realize but CPTs can collaborate with PTs. When orthopedic dysfunction no longer exists or when insurance coverage runs out, PTs will often refer their patients to personal training studios like Body Basics for them to continue their health journey. If the client has the means, they can work with both professionals at the same time for a holistic approach (depending on the injury or dysfunction) to healing. For instance, if someone has lower back pain, the sequence of treatment might start with a family physician to rule out any underlying health issues (such as kidney problems). An x-ray or MRI might reveal healthy organ systems but a strained muscle in the back. The physician, in this case, might refer the patient to a PT. The PT would start with a thorough evaluation to prescribe a plan of care then continue working with that patient until the dysfunction is treated. The patient, then, would be referred to a personal training studio such as ours (one that focuses on functional movement training) to help prevent future impairments/injuries. A personal trainer would start with a thorough initial assessment, look over the exercises prescribed by the PT, and supplement additional exercises to help strengthen uninjured areas like the core and lower and upper body. This is what is meant by a holistic approach. Sometimes the lower back muscles are overused because of weak glutes or tight hamstrings. A holistic approach emphasizes strengthening weak muscles to prevent injury in compensating muscle groups.

You may currently be working with a PT. Their focus and expertise will guide you in your rehab. You may, however, consider supplementing their support with expert guidance from Body Basics. It is no question a therapy clinic will be laser-focused on your dysfunction, but also consider strengthening other areas of your body that might be experiencing atrophy while you recover. You may also find that receiving support from a trainer after rehab will help you stay accountable and on the right track towards long-term health. Whatever season of your life you are going through, Body Basics is always happy to help!

Written by Vitaliy Tsema and Christine Kling

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