Making the dream team
Have you ever been injured and not sure what the first step should be?
How do you know if you should see a medical doctor, physical therapist, massage therapist or a chiropractor? Do you ask your coach for advice?
Or maybe you just take off time from your sport?
Whatever you choose to do, it is important that you make an informed decision. There are many phenomenal clinicians out there, as well as a handful of fakes.
But how do you spot the difference?
Here are three things you should ALWAYS consider when seeking advice
1. What are the persons credentials?
With the internet of everything, it is easy to have access to information through memes, blogs, Instagram or Facebook posts. There are tons of certifications, self-proclaimed gurus and “Masters of yahyahyah”.
Here are two ways you can differentiate between a gym-bruh and a professional.
A certification is the recognition that the individual has completed some type of examination by a particular company or organization. Sometimes these certifications are legit, others, not at all. Most certifications have to clear a minimum standard for education or complete certain requirements. These include personal training certifications, CPR training, or a particular type of technique or treatment (kinesiotaping).
Licensure is the recognition that the individual has completed some type of formal training that meets minimum standards set forth by the state in which they received the license. The great state of Florida, for example, has certain criteria that need to be met for physicians, physical therapists and chiropractors to practice. These academic programs are vetted by a rigorous process that includes committees or professional organizations that have a long history within that field, provide research in that area and are constantly updating their curriculum to reflect best practices. The clinician will have to undergo years of formal classes and an internship where they are guided by other clinicians to ensure a level of understanding that is needed to practice.
It is best to seek advice from someone who has formal training, where they were tested by professionals in their field.
2. What are they telling you?
You spoke to them for 0.3 seconds and they are “diagnosing” you.
Calmly thank them for their expertise and back away… slowly. They might bite!
No legitimate professional will offer any diagnosis or treatment options without first having a solid “getting to know you” conversation. It is important that the questions they ask are relevant and important to you, the condition you (may) have and your concerns at that time, then and there.
A good clinician will take the time to understand you- what sports you play, performances you’ve done, competitive events, goals and fears. Your experience with injuries, what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past.
At this stage, they should be doing a lot of listening. Not so much talking.
3. Does the information and suggestions they offer make sense.
Are you telling them how you have shoulder pain when pushing yourself off the floor and they keep telling you about x, y, or z treatment, but there seems to be no connection between the two?
Unless they can guide you through a common-sense treatment process, I would be cautious. Ask them a few questions, give them an opportunity to explain further, maybe the plan of care needs to be cleared up from being a little fuzzy.
Ask them what exactly is going on and how exactly they plan to help you.
Your body, your decision.
At the end of the day, it is your body and you have the ultimate decision on what you want to do or don’t want to do. Consider what you are learning from what the clinician is telling you- it should make sense to you at that time and place with the injury you have.
As a clinician treating elite performing artists, gymnasts and combat sports athletes for the past 8 years, I am ALWAYS eager to answer their questions and guide them through the decision making, injury pathology and recovery process.
Because I truly care.