So from what I understand, physical therapy is entering the realm of preventative health, doing its best to market itself as a profession that can help you out before you injure yourself; however, a conversation I had today with another personal trainer makes me want to discuss personal training as another form of preventative health.
But first, we must understand the differences between personal trainers and physical therapists. Personal trainers do not treat injuries while physical therapists do. They can also help with aesthetics in a way that physical therapists do not. Even so, oftentimes I get the impression the general public thinks personal trainers are only around to help with weight loss and eating better and building muscle.
That’s not true, and that’s not what I specialize in. I specialize in helping out those with orthopedic issues. Keep in mind I do not treat them because I do not diagnose and do not do assessments in an attempt to diagnose. Much of my knowledge comes from continuing education and the myriad of observation hours I had to do in order to understand that these types of orthopedic conditions work best with these exercises. For example, someone with bulging discs will do well with press-ups. However, you wouldn’t want to give someone with compressed discs press-ups.
I like working with these individuals because obviously I want to be a physical therapist, but also because they’re all unique and you can’t get away with doing the same exercises with every one. Not every person with arthritis is going to have trouble with their knees. Not every person with SI pain is going to be limited in the types of exercises they can do. Some clients with arthritis in their knees are getting special treatments and can do squats while others absolutely will not squat, even if you offered them all the money in the world.
Personal trainers are more than just weight-loss experts or aesthetics people. We can prevent people from getting injured so that physical therapists are not tasked with the burden of having to heal a knee messed up because of a poorly educated trainer or poorly educated individual. Personal trainers can help with muscle imbalances so that way you’re not raking your lawn one day and you develop tennis elbow because of weak/tight muscles.
Really, we can just prevent you from getting hurt to begin with and keep you from entirely breaking down in old age.