Rhode Island Spine Center a Primary Spine Care Facility
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FAQs - Physical Therapy

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What Level of Education Does a Physical Therapist (PT) Have?

Most physical therapists currently have either a Bachelor's or Master's degree. However, the trend seems to be headed towards the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). Over the last several years, new DPT programs have developed, and many established programs have made the transition to the Doctorate level. All physical therapy schools must be accredited, and all physical therapists must pass a state licensure exam once their education is completed.
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What is the Difference Between a Chiropractic Physician and a Physical Therapist?

At the Rhode Island Spine Center, chiropractic physicians and physical therapists work together as a team. The function of the chiropractic physician is to first diagnose the cause of the particular problem that the patient is experiencing, including, if necessary, ordering X rays, MRIs, blood tests or other diagnostic studies. The chiropractic physician then formulates a management strategy that may include education to help understand the problem and reduce the mystery and fear that often surrounds spine problems, manipulation, muscle treatments, exercise and nutritional advice.”. The physical therapist’s job is to perform a comprehensive evaluation of movement, stability, and joint and muscle function, and to provide manual therapy, exercise, ergonomic and lifestyle advice, and other rehabilitation approaches. The chiropractic physician and physical therapist communicate regularly regarding each patient’s care.
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Do PTs Perform Manipulations Like a Chiropractic Physician Does?

It depends on the individual state’s physical therapy practice act. Some states prohibit PT’s from performing spinal manipulations. Others do allow it if the clinician has had some type of advanced training in the area. More commonly, a PT will perform joint mobilization - a slower velocity and graded joint movement. Because we have both chiropractic and PT services available, patients will be able to receive whatever treatment they need: manipulation, mobilization, exercise of various types, or a combination of all approaches. We believe this “team approach” allows us to maximize the benefits to our patients.
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What Can I Expect When I Come for Physical Therapy at the Rhode Island Spine Center?

The first session will be an evaluation by a licensed physical therapist. The evaluation will consist of tests and measures of the musculoskeletal and neurological systems. The treatment approach in the following sessions can be extremely varied from clinic to clinic. At the Rhode Island Spine Center, there is almost always some form of therapeutic exercise designed to correct the specific deficiencies discovered in the evaluation. You can also expect an introduction to your condition, a home exercise program, and pain management strategies. Therapists also provide a variety of manual techniques including joint and soft tissue mobilization. Whatever the treatment approach, the common thread is that you will progress toward specific goals to reach your your optimal functional level.
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How Long Will Physical Therapy Treatment Continue?

It depends on the individual. As a general rule, the longer a condition has been present, the longer the recovery process will be, but this is not a rule that is set in stone. It is our goal to not only alleviate the symptoms that the patient is experiencing at the present, but to also target the underlying dysfunctions that are the source of their particular problem. By doing this, it allows the patient a safe and quick return to function and addresses the necessary changes that are needed to prevent them from returning.
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