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Tamer S. Issa, PT
Physical Therapy First
Issa Physical Therapy
. http://www.issapt.com

Physical Therapy First

An article on the front of the Wall Street Journals January 12, 2007 edition clearly acknowledges what the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy (AAOMPT) has been saying for years “Before trying expensive alternatives, get patients into physical therapy first. Youll save millions of dollars and actually help the patient,” said Dr. Timothy W. Flynn, physical therapist and President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.
In the Wall Street Journal article, entitled “A Novel Plan Helps Hospital Wean Itself Off of Pricey Tests”, writer Vanessa Fuhrmans notes that a novel solution tested at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, “offers a lesson in dealing with one of the most confounding elements in Americas health care crisis”focusing on prevention and early intervention rather than expensive diagnostics, treatments and invasive surgery.
The solution was crafted with the help of large employers Starbucks, Costco Wholesale Corp, and Nordstrom Inc. As doctors studied the course of treatment of dozens of patients at Virginia Masons spine clinic, it was discovered that no standard procedures were being followed. In fact, ordering an expensive MRI was common, though uncomplicated back pain rarely warrants one.
Many patients had to wait a month for appointments and often were referred to multiple specialists. Eventually some patients were directed to physical therapy, where it was common they would begin to feel relief.
Once the inefficiencies were mapped out on paper, the solution was clear to everyone put the physical therapy in front. According to the article, “Thats also what a lot of medical literature suggests. The hospital made the change, and also worked with its team of employers to eliminate extra steps in the medical maze for patients.”
Thats been our philosophy all along,” said Dr. Flynn. “This article highlights that when it comes to low back pain; see your physical therapist first. It often eliminates unnecessary tests, invasive surgeries, high costs, and most importantly provides a successful outcome while decreasing your likelihood of your symptoms returning.
The AAOMPT serves its members by promoting excellence in orthopaedic manual physical therapy practice, education and research, and collaborates with national and international association. For more on AAOMPT and the value of physical therapy- go to www.aaompt.org.

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