Lessons Learned

This post has been a long time coming, and I’m not particularly sure why.  Perhaps I was worried I might ruffle some feathers, but when I read the recent editorial by Jas Randhawa, DC and DPT student Kyle Balzer, I was ready to write. PT’s in California are facing a fight in Sacramento that threatens to take away our ability to perform techniques that we have been practicing for years.  SB 381 would prohibit physical therapists in California from performing joint manipulation, reserving the right to this technique to licensed chiropractors, physician/surgeons or osteopathic physician/surgeons.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many physicians trained to do joint manipulation.  However, HVLAT techniques are a part of physical therapy school curriculum.  See this editorial for more on the history and training of the two professions:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2565606/

But…I digress.  The intent of this post isn’t to discuss SB 381, it is to share a lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years.

The interaction between chiropractors and physical therapists has often been contentious, but over the past several years, I’ve asked myself if it really needs to be that way.  PT’s and Chiropractors (we may as well throw Athletic Trainers into the mix) get so hung up on territory and competition and scope of practice, but the way I see it, it’s not only a waste of time and energy but leads to many missed opportunities for learning.

Some of my closest friends in the rehab world are not PT’s.  Some of the people I respect most as clinicians in the rehab world are not PT’s.  Some of my mentors are not PT’s.  The one thing we have in common is that we’re not afraid to learn from practitioners outside of our discipline.  As a result, I’ve been exposed to continuing education courses, have learned techniques that fall outside of the world of traditional PT courses and have become a better clinician because of it.  I’ve been fortunate to have conversations with other rehab specialists, been able to discuss complicated cases approached from different perspectives and am a better clinician because of that.

Rather than staking claim to certain techniques or being worried that someone will take business away, we should spend our time and energy learning from one another to improve the health and optimize the function of our patients. Let’s face it, there will always be plenty of people who need our help.