Discouraging Bad PT Practices

Reference: www.choosingwisely.org

…is a web site campaign based in the USA (but applicable to Canada) to help physicians and patients engage in conversations aimed at reducing unnecessary tests and procedures. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) contributed to the Choosing Wisely series, to list common PT treatments that are usually not helpful. It is worth a read; meanwhile here are some quotes from the site.


“… hot packs and deep heat machines, such as ultrasound can feel good on a painful back, shoulder, or knee. They may help relax you before exercise, but there is no proof that they have any lasting effect.”

“Look for an active approach. It should use movement and get you back to your activities. Avoid passive treatments, where you lie on a table or in bed.”


“During your first few sessions, note whether the therapist gives you full attention and supervises you. If not, you can stop treatment and choose a new therapist.”

I could not agree more. I hope CPA comes out with the same initiatives as APTA. I get upset when I hear about assembly line “physio” clinics typically not even owned and operated by a PT! Putting a hot pack on a patient as a “treat” after their exercise is one thing; making modalities as the primary treatment is just a shame!

No passive Rx

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