Generalized Therapy vs. Spine-Specialized | What does this mean? | Manual Therapy | FAQ
One of the key features that sets Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine apart from other clinics that treat back and neck pain is our on-site spine-specialized physical therapy gym.
Patients will be connected with a spine therapist who has advanced training. Matt Kellar, PT is certified in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy of the Spine (Cert. M.D.T.) from the McKenzie Institute U.S.A. He has skills and techniques that are specifically oriented at relieving back and neck pain.
General Therapy vs. Spine-Specialized Therapy
The only way to permanently relieve pain involves changing the physiology of the back by using exercise to make it stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury. While a general physical therapist may spend weeks attempting to mask pain using heat, ice or ultrasound, research has shown that using these passive “feel-good” treatments does not provide any lasting benefit. That is why most health insurance companies no longer pay for feel-good, passive treatments involving heat or ice. They believe you can do this on your own at home.
Spine is a special problem requiring special training. The general physical therapist often sees a wide variety of patients each day who suffer problems related to sore elbows, knees or shoulders. While general physical therapists are very adept with many sports medicine ailments, they typically have a very limited understanding of the best ways to treat specific types of back problems. At best, they may have taken a couple courses on therapy for a back or neck injury. Spine care can be complex, and it requires extensive training to address the variety of problems seen in a spine center like Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine.
A spine-specialized therapist’s primary goal is to enable the patient to perform a customized home exercise program as early as their first visit. The therapist’s second goal is to make the patient independent of therapy within a short period of time.
What Does This Mean for You?
Instead of receiving a general treatment approach, at Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine, our therapist specializes in treating back and neck pain. Matt Kellar, PT has advanced, hands-on skills that can help relieve your pain and get your injured muscles, tissues and spinal structures moving again.
Manual therapy relates to the use of a therapist’s hands to achieve pain relief. By using specific techniques, the spine therapist can relieve pain through hands-on movements applied to vertebrae and soft tissue areas. This is achieved not passively, with a modality such as ice or heat, but through actively moving the joints and tissues.
A manual therapist’s background typically begins with physical therapy training, followed by advanced education in spine that sets them apart from general physical therapists. This specialized education can be within a host of manual therapy philosophies, each involving unique pain-relieving techniques that help patients return to function as quickly as possible. Regardless of the particular school of thought, the best spine therapists avoid the use of passive modalities, which do not provide permanent relief.
What makes Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine affiliated physical therapy different?
Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine physical therapy is directed by therapists with training in spine therapy.
What will my therapy be like?
At other clinics, you may have laid on a table, while someone put hot packs or ice on your back. Or your therapy may have included other passive things like ultrasound. Or you may have had a massage. The insurance companies who pay for back care have done extensive research on things that relieve back pain — for the long term — and they now have policies that eliminate payment to clinics doing “palliative care.” The word “palliative” means something that feels good, but doesn’t cure anything.
So while a massage or hot pack may feel good, it doesn’t provide any lasting change to the soft tissues in your back or neck. The effect on your symptoms is temporary, and in a sense, worthless because it doesn’t last and your pain will return.
Nationally, the best spine treatment clinics avoid passive things like hot packs, ice and massage. Instead, spine-specialized clinics emphasize things that strengthen the back, and that makes it more flexible and resistant to injury. In other words, Georgia Neurological Surgery & Georgia Comprehensive Spine emphasizes specialized spine techniques, stretches and exercises that will help you recover from injury without having to resort to surgery.
At the foundation of spine therapy, for example, is the philosophy of helping the patient to take responsibility for his or her own health. We will show you the special exercises that are customized for you. By using this customized series of stretches, you have the resources you need back at home to control your back or neck pain symptoms long term.
It is important to note, however, that any time you have symptoms that involve radiating pain or numbness into a leg or arm, you should consider these serious emergency symptoms that need to be seen by a spine surgeon or spine physiatrist to determine if they are worsening, or if they can be managed with therapy. If you ignore these symptoms, such symptoms can cause permanent nerve damage. Another emergency symptom is any loss of control of bowel or bladder.
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