Are physical therapists drowning in an ocean of medical information?
Journals, articles, continuing educations courses, new textbooks, government regulations and professional position statements are just a few of the complex reading requirements that physical therapists must digest.
Selena Horner posts at www.MyPhysicalTherapySpace.com in a post titled Overwhelmingly Complex
She asks the following...
"Is there a way to move from overwhelmingly complex to simple?"
Joel Bialosky, Stephen George and Mark Bishop ask How Spinal Manipulative Therapy Works: Why ask Why? in the guest editorial of the June Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
Somewhat paradoxically, Bialosky et al state the following:
"More information on how and why spinal manipulative therapy
works may lead to higher utilization rates because there would be less skepticism
about rationale for its effectiveness and less mysticism surrounding its use."
Finally, in 2006 the Orthopedic Section of the APTA began a project called...
Use of the International Classification of Functioning and Disability to Develop Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Common Musculoskeletal Conditions.
The authors, Joseph Godges, DPT, MA, OCS Coordinator, ICF-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines and James J. Irrgang, PT, PhD, ATC Orthopaedic Section President state the following:
"It is believed that these guidelines will advance orthopaedic physical therapist practice and could be used to guide professional and postprofessional education and to establish an agenda for future clinical research."
Ultimately, the goal of academic research should be to improve clinical physical therapy.
Ms. Horner's original question asked how to make the complex into the simple.
I think each of these examples, in its own way, seeks to do one thing - improve physical therapist clinical decision making.
For the practicing physical therapist clinician (and the lab researcher) better physical therapy decisions come down to one thing:
Take better measurements of your patients to make better treatment decisions.
I recommend a simple system for management of lower quarter and lumbar dysfunction, interestingly called SIMPLE for Summary of Impairments of the Lumbar Spine and the Lower Extremity.
Take a look at it at the SIMPLE website.
I also recommend an excellent textbook on Physical Therapy Diagnosis which you can get here...