Last week I intended a conference put on by a physical therapy network here in New Hampshire. The conference involved a Physical Therapist presenting to a group of Nurse Practitioners who work in family medicine/primary care. The purpose of the presentation was to help educate the Nurse Practitioners on physical therapy as an intervention for low back pain.
The greatest take-away was that Physical Therapists and people working in primary care should have good communication among each other in order to provide the best and most effective treatments for patients with low back pain. Often times, patients with low back pain are brought through a circle of expensive tests including MRI’s and X-Rays, etc. The Physical Therapist helped identify certain “red flags” of low back pain in order to help distinguish which symptoms would likely call for these test as opposed to a physical therapy referral.
With regard to low back injuries, typically the sooner treatment can begin after the initial injury, the better off the patient will be. There should be a mutual trust between the provider and the therapist that each one is following similar guidelines. If the therapist notices red flags with a patient, there should be a mutual trust that the therapist will realize these signs and refer back to the provider for further evaluation.
This conference was highly beneficial for me to attend. I learned that PT’s and providers should communicate and build a mutual trust, which helps everyone involved in the treatment for low back injuries. I was also able to learn the process which many providers go through when assessing their patients. This information will help me in school and in my career someday.