30 days till Kona

30 days till Kona

No one starts doing triathlons because they want to compete in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. I started racing triathlons more than a decade ago and was in it for the fun, exercise, meeting new friends, etc. It wasn’t until about 5 years ago when I learned what Kona was all about…that it wasn’t just for the Pros.

Myths About Physical Therapy

As a practicing Physical Therapist, I have seen and heard many misconceptions about physical therapy. Through family, friends, patients and the media, I have heard wide and varied beliefs about who physical therapists are and what we do. Let me help clarify some of the more common misunderstandings. 

Myth #1: I need a doctor's prescription to see a physical therapist.

Physical Therapists are doctors; we are educated at a doctorate level, similar to a medical doctor, and receive a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) upon completion of 7 years of higher education. In the State of Colorado health care consumers have direct access to physical therapy. This means that you can see physical therapist without a referral from a physician. Although a few remaining insurance companies require the referral, most do not. You can call your physical therapist to find out whether or not your insurance requires one.

Myth #2: Physical Therapy is for people who have surgery.

Yes, physical therapy is appropriate for most people that have undergone surgery. However, physical therapists do much more than that. In fact, research shows that physical therapy is one of the most effective treatments for neck and back pain. Physical therapists also treat a wide variety of impairments that range from dizziness to sports injuries, maternity care to strokes and spinal cord injuries to balance problems. Some physical therapists provide wound care, lymphedema and pelvic floor treatment. We also provide preventative health care such as education and injury screenings to keep you moving healthfully. So if you have pain or are having difficulty moving, ask a physical therapist if they can help you. They most likely can.

Myth #3: Physical Therapy is painful.

I have had many people jokingly accuse me of being a "physical terrorist" or ask if I enjoy hurting people all day long. However, the goal of physical therapy is to minimize and/or resolve pain so that you can function better. Sometimes advancing/restoring your range of motion, especially after surgery, can be painful and often new exercises will cause temporary muscle soreness. But most of the time the saying "no pain, no gain" does not apply. Physical therapists work within your pain tolerance and use a variety of tools and techniques to reduce the pain you experience. 

Myth #4: Physical therapy can't help me; I need surgery.

Research has shown that in most cases physical therapy is as effective as surgery when treating neck and back pain, joint pain and many other orthopedic injuries and problems. Coupled with the fact that physical therapy treatment is less costly and less invasive, it is often recommended as the first option of care for most people. Even in the case where surgery is needed, physical therapy can play a vital role in optimizing surgical outcomes by improving strength and functional movement prior to the surgery. So before you decide on surgery, visit with a physical therapist to see if physical therapy just might be the best choice for you!

Hopefully this helps to clarify some of the misconceptions about physical therapy. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to give us a call.

Keep moving!

Katie Larson, PT, DPT, OCS

Evidence Based Practice - What is it and why should you care?

What Is Evidence-Based Physical Therapy?

As a physical therapist and scientist, phrases like evidence-based physical therapy roll off my tongue. They’re a part of my daily vocabulary. For someone looking for the right physical therapist who can provide correct and appropriate care, it probably sounds intimidating. But it’s not.

Simply put, evidence-based physical therapy uses the results of scientific research, the evidence, along with knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, clinical knowledge and experience, information I garner from my patients through conversations with them and their family members or partner, and through my own observations. With this information, I create a conscientious, individualized physical therapy practice that makes judicious use of current best practices.

I know, from my years in research, that new physical therapy methodologies are being developed all the time. New equipment is being invented right this moment. Although some of these techniques and/or equipment sound exciting and people make grandiose claims about how well they work, using an evidence-based based process to examine these claims helps me sort out which of these are most likely to reliably and effectively work. This means that I can provide my patients with therapies that will help them get better in the fastest amount of time.

At Berkana Rehabilitation Institute, we’ve created a culture of focused knowledge. A culture of distilling and communicating information and then applying that information—the evidence—to each patient’s particular situation and needs. This allows us to be creative and flexible in developing our patients’ paths to wellness. Come check us out and let us help you find your path to wellness.

Have a wonderful, healthful day.

Dr. Nancy Quick, PT, PhD




Dr. Nancy Quick, PT, PhD has practiced physical therapy for more than 20 years, with a focus on orthopedic and neurological care. She has published and presented scientific research papers and co-invented exercise devices specifically geared to stroke patients. Dr. Quick was nominated for Teacher of the Year and Distinguished Teacher awards while teaching at the University of New England.