165 Lilly Rd NE, Suite B, Olympia • 360.455-8014


Physical Therapy in Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey, Where should I go?

There are many fine physical therapy clinics in the Olympia, Tumwater and Lacey area. How do you chose where to go?

You can choose based on location. A friend of mine told me today she chose to go to physical therapy at a clinic close to her house. What would prompt a close choice versus reputation? Maybe she needed to go 2 or 3 times per week. If someone needs to go to PT 2 or 3 times a week for a month or so, then going close to your house would be very convenient, HOWEVER, ask yourself the question: does your condition warrant 2 or 3 times per week?

Recently a former patient returned for a new session of physical therapy. She is a fairly frail 80 something year old, and was sent for BOTH headaches AND shoulder pain by her physician. Her prescription from the physician was directed to be 2 to 3 times per week for 4 to 6 weeks. She may have thought she needed to come that often, but…….when I evaluated her headache AND shoulder pain, I determined that both problems were mainly caused by the same anatomical structure.

I gave her an exercise program based on this one problem, and added customized and specific exercises for the shoulders and neck. As of Friday (January 30) 100% better in the headache and 75% better in the shoulders. She came for 6 visits at 1 x per week.

So the bottom line is, unless you actually NEED to have therapy 2 or 3 times per week consider going somewhere that uses less visits more effectively and you may save yourself some time and money.

The therapists at Comstock Physical Therapy, Joyce Mills, Lori Waterman and Linnea Comstock have extensively studied the body to make our exercise programs very effective and efficient. Give us a call if you would rather go to PT once per week instead of three times a week!

Physical Therapy…May I have a private room please!

When you go to a physical therapist have you been offered a private room or are you treated in an open gym, no curtains to provide privacy, with many other people in the gym?

As a patient YOU can choose what you want. When you go to your first PT appointment, make sure to let the scheduler know that you would like a private room, if you wish.

Many clinics have one or two private rooms and a large gym. It is less expensive to have an large open gym with a few private rooms than to have many private rooms and a smaller gym. Why? It is much more expensive to frame in, sheet rock, putty and paint walls then leave spaces open. Unfortunately you, if you are the patient, may be more likely to gently be guided to an open gym space due to the lest costly nature of this arrangement.

Recently my husband went with his buddies to go get coffee. He came home telling me they watched a lady receiving physical therapy in an open gym with lots of windows. They watched her on her hands and knees stretching her buttocks towards the window. Unfortunately they got quite a show.

What are the positives to private rooms?
1) you can have a candid conversation with your therapist about YOUR needs and wants.
2) You can move in physically awkward positions in privacy with your therapist. This is an advantage to you as you have more privacy; also your therapist may be more comfortable asking you to get into awkward positions (which may be helpful for your therapist to understand your problem) to assess your problem knowing she/he is not putting you in potentially embarrassing positions.

At Comstock Physical Therapy we have 3 private rooms and 2 other rooms in our gym which have full curtain coverage. Here is a video of our clinic on the inside. Take a look, you’ll see our private rooms.

Inside of Comstock Physical Therapy

Please feel free to request a private room as we are ready and able to accommodate your request and keep your needs in mind.

Do physical therapists get along with chiropractors?

There are myths out there about physical therapists and physical therapy.  One of them is “physical therapists do not get along with chiropractors.”

Here is a link that highlights the myth:  http://physicaltherapy.about.com/od/typesofphysicaltherapy/a/Physical-Therapy-Mythbusters.htm

The truth is…in my experience chiropractors and physical therapists get along great and even refer to one another for the best interests of  the patient.   Physical therapists are really great at specific exercises that are customized to fix your precise problem,  and chiropractors can manipulate your specific joint to get the pain down quickly.

Together, you feel better quickly and have long term results if you continue your specific exercise program.

Patients get the best of both worlds when there is teamwork between the professions.  Add into the mix a great massage therapist and you’ve got a powerful mix that get people better.

How do you know if your health care provider is doing right by you?

On Friday a patient 0f mine came back for a recheck.  I hadn’t seen her in about a month.  She had started treatment about 3 months ago and had received 6 treatments before her recheck.

At her recheck she was doing much better,  in fact she was now able to lift rain soaked flower pots and could sleep through the night.  When she first started treatment she was waking up many times per night due hip pain, and could not tolerate more than 20 minutes or so of light yardwork due to back pain.    After receiving exercises for hip weakness based on Chris Powers PhD PT’s research at USC and exercises for multifidus/transverse abdominis/pelvic floor  coordination and strength training (core) based upon Paul Hodges PhD PT’s research at the University of Queensland she followed through diligently and is much better.

As I was finishing up treatment with her I remembered back to her first day of treatment when she brought in a thick  3 ring binder notebook.  This notebook was  FULL  of exercise sheets she had received from various gyms and physical clinics in another state, and she wanted to show them to me so I could get up to speed.  Very few of the exercises were based on Hodges’ or Powers’ research, and I thought to myself, “how can that be?”  How were these exercises missed?  and more importantly, what could she have done to get a jump start on knowing what questions to ask about her specific condition and what treatment was best?

One suggestion for future patients as to advance your knowledge about what kinds of treatment are best for your condition is to  log onto pubmed, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ , a centralized database of up to date research and type in your condition are look through the research abstracts which can help you know what the latest findings and treatments are that are relevant for your condition.

For example:  type in “low back pain treatment guidelines” and here is the link’s first page  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=low+back+pain+treatment+guidelines

Of if you want to know if a specific kind of treatment is helpful for your condition, such as “physical therapy” for hip arthritis, here is that link:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=physical+therapy+for+hip+arthritis

Happy Researching!


Physical Therapy

165 Lilly Rd. NE, Suite B
Olympia, Washington 98506


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