Lila Abbate, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, WCS
The Advantage of Out-of-Network Physical Therapy: A Good Investment For Your Health
Updated: Jan 10, 2021
When you are deciding what restaurant to eat at, you make the choice based from a variety of factors. Are you looking something quick, something junky, or something luxurious? Options may be to visit your local fast food chain to grab something quick, or a healthier gourmet shop, or you may be looking for an experience consisting of great atmosphere, good conversation, and high quality food. We can easily compare fine dining, a high-end hair salon, driving an expensive car as a luxury and this thought never gets transferred into the caring of our bodies. We may pay the extra for massages, yoga and Pilates, however, physical therapy gets lumped into a healthcare entitled benefit. But you need to ask yourself, is your body getting the care and bodywork that it needs and deserves?
Physical therapists are the highest educated professionals who specialize in biomechanics (how the joints line up) and arthokinematics (normal movement of the joint). PTs specialize in nerve and muscle function in and around a joint. Our hands-on skills and exercise expertise put us at the top – in both education and knowledge. We rank second to orthopedic surgeons in muscle and nerve knowledge. At a course I once attended, the instructor stated “we are a tapestry of accumulated traumas. Patients wind up in a wheel chair when they have run out of orthopedic compensations”. This statement stuck with me. I have patients that will say to me: “I know it sounds crazy but this all started after a severe ankle sprain 10 years ago” and so the compensations begin. The body will compensate for injuries over time and something that started a simple as an ankle sprain then becomes a hip problem, then a neck injury, that lead to chronic headaches. The statement seems large; “accumulated traumas” yet something simple and small can lead us into these chronic pain patterns over time. At New Dimensions, we are looking for the biomechanical “why” of your symptoms and are looking to the change that. If you have been through the traditional physical therapy model and have not improved or the improvements last only for a short amount of time, you may need to take the time to invest in your body – for the long haul. The average lifespan has increased over the years with ages as high as 81.2 for women and 76.4 for men, as the latest national US average. Our oldest athletic patient has been 101 who complained of knee pain with golfing and as young as 6 with having neck pain with swimming and turning his head side to side that no one could figure out.
Models of physical therapy care vary greatly from office to office. Some offices that take insurance may have hour time slots, but within that hour, you are one of 4 to 6 patients. This model is sufficient if you have a simple injury that requires guided exercise and simple physical therapy care. But if you feel that you are not getting better as you should, or you have a complicated case that requires an advanced amount of knowledge, visiting a place that only has 10-15 minutes of one-on-one time with a physical therapist without advanced training may not be the right fit for you. Out-of-network physical therapy may have a higher price tag, but can give you more time, allowing a physical therapist to pay close attention to details. The phrase “out-of-network” generally means the office or the patient submits back to their insurance for reimbursement. Generally these insurances have out-of-network benefits that help cover the costs.
It is also important to consider if your physical therapist is trained in a specialty area. For example, physical therapists specialized in women’s health and pelvic floor rehab have extended training beyond their doctorate in graduate school to not only treat the external muscles of the body, but also the internal muscles of the pelvic floor in both men and women. These physical therapists have extensive orthopedic training and also pelvic floor rehabilitation training. If someone is experiencing sacroilliac joint, hip, pelvic or chronic low back pain they may have an issue with their pelvic floor muscles as part of the overall picture secondary to the pelvic floor muscles role in pelvic, low back, hip function and stability.
Complicated or personal problems require specialized care. You wouldn’t go to a fast food chain if you were looking for a special dining experience, similar to how you wouldn’t want to be seen for 15 minutes for a complicated problem. Out-of-network physical therapy can be the solution to provide you with the focused care you need to help overcome any pain or dysfunction you may chronically have or an athletic condition where you want faster results. New Dimensions Physical Therapy is a practice that follows the model of one-on-one care for an hour and consists of physical therapists specialized in complicated orthopedic and pelvic floor rehab and that have a large amount of experience treating special cases.