Physical Therapist

Physical Therapist

Dr. Rehab

Los Angeles, CA

Female, 31

I'm a practicing PT with a Doctorate for the past 4 years now. Although it may not seem like a long time, I have gained extensive knowledge and experience in various PT settings. I've worked anywhere from outpatient therapy, home health, aquatic therapy, inpatient rehab, and private clients. I now also instruct on an online prep course for graduates seeking to pass their National Board Examination. PT is a very rewarding job, but can also SUCK, which explains my quest to find the ideal situation

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Last Answer on February 15, 2013

Best Rated

What's the most dramatic "before-and-after" improvement you've ever seen with a patient?

Asked by Melissa 3oh3 almost 6 years ago

Great question! Last year, I had a 20 year old girl suffer multiple injuries from a car accident. She came to me in a wheelchair with fractures to both of her legs, right wrist, four ribs, dislocated left shoulder, and whiplash to top it off. Naturally, her spirits were very low and often cried during our sessions. You can imagine how tough it would be to go from being a super active college kid, to essentially confined to a wheelchair. Well, we worked through her struggles with a lot of encouragement and effort. She essentially had to be taught how to walk again. It's amazing and pretty badass to see the transformation of any patient who gains their independence back by what you've done. Imagine a long montage with Rocky-type music in the background of me stretching her legs, mobilizing her shoulder, having a small celebration when she shakily stands up from her wheelchair alone - to taking her first steps without crutches - to me shouting at her to squat deeper while I add more weights. Yeah, it's pretty much a progression like that, just a lot longer with a lot of patience. She now competes and kicks ass in those cross-fit games!

When you're not at work, do you ever offer strangers unsolicited advice if you see they have bad posture, or perhaps in the gym if you see they're doing an exercise incorrectly? Or do you take the PT hat off completely when you're not at work?

Asked by JSB almost 6 years ago

When I hear unsolicited advice, it reminds me of my mother or mother-in-law telling me baby advice for my little one. Needless to say, it's annoying and I don't like it. So I figure most people wouldn't really appreciate it either, even if I had the best intentions in mind. I also live in LA, where the common mentality is to mind your own business. Maybe it would be different if I lived in a small town or community. Of course, I'm always there to lend a helping hand to an elderly person or someone who's just been injured. But I'm sure anyone, PT or not, would do the same thing. I will only offer advice to strangers if I feel they seem open to some input. But I would never just go up to someone and say, "Hey, you're doing that all wrong" or "your posture is horrendous, you probably have some back issues", even though I may be thinking it. I'm always around to help friends or anyone else, and answer questions, but for the most part, my PT hat is off after hours.

Are rotator cuffs more problematic than other injuries? I'm told I tore mine 4 years ago, and it's never fully healed, even though I did 2 months of PT.

Asked by mangria almost 6 years ago

I wouldn't necessarily say rotator cuff injuries are more problematic than other injuries, unless of course, your job or a big part of your life consists of doing repeated overhead activities (pitchers, tennis players, etc). The healing process depends on many factors including severity of tear, if other structures were compromised, age, lifestyle, etc. If you had a significant tear, no amount of PT will heal it as you will need surgical intervention. If it's still causing you problems or interfering with your functional activities, then you may want to consider seeing an Orthopaedic surgeon for further diagnostic evaluation.

When YOU have an issue requiring physical therapy, do you diagnose and treat yourself, or do you see another PT?

Asked by Q-Burt almost 6 years ago

You know, if it's something like a minor back issue or I sprained my ankle, then I will just treat myself. There was a time when my back went out and I could barely walk. Fortunately, I was working at a clinic and just had some of my co-workers work on me. Of course, If I fractured or tore something, then I would definitely need to see another PT. The good thing is I have a lot of my colleagues nearby to help me out!

Have you ever had to tell an athlete that his or her career was over?

Asked by Martha almost 6 years ago

Fortunately, I have never had to come across a situation that would warrant such bad news. Plus, that depressing role really belongs to a Physician, who diagnoses a patient based on extensive tests, imaging, and medical management.

Do you think massage is a viable form of physical therapy? It's obviously pleasurable, but does it actually have any remedial effects?

Asked by St. Paul almost 6 years ago

Yes, I do believe that 'massage' has its medical benefits. I put quotes around massage, because I, and probably many of my colleagues, consider massage something very relaxing/soothing that you would get at a spa. What we really do is soft tissue mobilization (STM), that deals with the manipulation of soft tissue, or the areas encapsulating a joints that have restricted range of motion. After an injury, our muscles, ligaments and fascia tighten up, therefore STM is very useful in manually stretching those areas and restoring range of motion. This type of manual therapy can also promote restoration of joint function, improve blood flow, lymph drainage and increase nerve signals to the injured area. More often than not, I'd say manual therapy is not quite pleasurable as we are trying to improve function, not have a day at the spa. There was a running joke at my clinic that PT actually stood for 'Pain' and 'Torture'....affectionately :).

Do most PT's start out in college as pre-meds, but later decide they're not cut out for the M.D. track of med school, residencies, etc?

Asked by "House" almost 6 years ago

I don't necessarily think that PT is a fall-back from being an M.D. All of my colleagues went into this profession wanting to be therapists. If anything, a lot of them had the initial goal of working with elite athletes on a college or professional level team. Therefore, many of them had experience as athletic trainers. Going pre-med as an undergrad would be beneficial as the pre-requisites are nearly identical. But I think that can be the same for just about any profession in the health industry. For me, I specifically chose PT because of the flexibility and wide range of patients and settings you can work in. I had absolutely zero desire in working 36 hour shifts, being on-call, etc. Plus, hospitals are not my thing. I'm uncomfortable in that setting and I always feel like I need to go into some sort of decontamination chamber after I leave one. I think if someone is able to achieve a higher level of education (masters, doctorate, etc.), then they can do anything with hard work, dedication, and a positive mindset.