How to Choose the Right Clinic for your Injury
When we’re experiencing pain…. patience or due diligence often isn’t top of mind. We can be so desperate for relief that we very quickly choose a clinic we think can help us; for sometimes arbitrary reasons.
The end result? A clinic experience that’s lacking. Often one where we get only a few rushed minutes with the therapist in order to try to convey the pain we are in. And then we are hooked up to a machine or have a device put on us and then left alone. If we’re lucky, we maybe get passed on to a rehab assistant that teaches us a few exercises. Little do we know, these will be the same exercises we will do for months without alterations or progressions.
And for some people weeks and months go by this way without much change to their pain. And the part that really breaks my heart is that so many people give up on their rehab because of it. They think ” Well I tried and it didn’t work for me”. And they resign themselves to the idea that they will just have to live with the pain, or manage it with pain killers for the rest of their lives. I want to tell you…
NOT ALL CLINICS ARE THE SAME!
There are great clinics out there that truly care about you as a human being and who take the time to fully understand you and your pain. There are clinics that give exclusively one on one care and never leave you alone hooked up to some machine or device. Some clinics are more concerned with uncovering and correcting the root cause or your pain rather than slapping a band aid on your pain for a short period of time. So please don’t paint us all with some same brush.
Without further ado, here are my Do’s and Don’ts to help you choose the right clinic for your needs whether it’s the first time around or even a second or third try.
DON’T choose a clinic for these reasons
1.) It’s close to your home.
We know that it can be tempting and convenient just to look at google maps and pick the closest clinic to your house. But ask yourself “Is location the most important factor to me when it comes to resolving my pain?”. You likely have other priorities that are more important to you. Getting amazing care and customer service is worth an extra 5 or 10 minute drive.
2.) Because you think you need to see a Doctor
A lot of people think that they need to see a doctor (and only a doctor) for their injury or pain. And while seeing your doctor to rule out anything more serious isn’t a bad idea…. a doctors isn’t going to do the same types of things as a rehab professional would. Most injuries need both hands on treatment as well as exercises to resolve the root cause of the pain. Doctors can be really helpful by giving you some pain relieving medication, cream, or even injections that can dull your pain while you make progress in your rehab. But you have to remember that if you don’t resolve the root cause of the pain, it will come back once the effects of the medication/ cream/ injection have worn off. This means you will be reliant on that pain relieving medication/ cream/ injection for the rest of your life (which can have other help repercussions long term)!
3.) Because you think you need to see a Physiotherapist (or other specific profession or treatment technique)
Physio is a very popular and well known profession. And there are other trendy treatment techniques such as laser, prolotherapy, shockwave, etc. There isn’t anything wrong with any one profession or technique. But I do caution you again self prescribing your own solution or jumping to one thing without exploring other options.
There is so much overlap in what other healthcare professions do that their title is one of the least important things about them. What matters more is their approach. Will they take the time to listen to you and explain things in a way you can understand? Will they spend one on one and hands on time with you during your appointment? Do they have a multitude of techniques and strategies that can help you achieve your goal rather than relying on one “cure all” method.
Make your goal to find the right clinic or the right practitioner that suites your goals. Not to find a specific professional or a specific technique. You just might find an incredible Athletic Therapist, Massage Therapist, or another professional is actually the right fit for you.
4.) Because you have insurance coverage for a specific profession
We know this is a tough one. We all want to use up our insurance coverage and avoid paying out of pocket it possible. But we might actually have more insurance coverage than we realize! Most insurance plans do cover Athletic Therapy, Massage Therapy, as well as things like Acupuncture, Osteopathy, etc. We encourage that you look into what is covered in your plan and even call to inquire. The booklet you receive and the information online isn’t always 100% accurate and you might have additional coverage that isn’t listed!
Secondly- you again have to ask yourself “Is having treatment reimbursed by my insurance the MOST important thing to me when it comes to recovering from injury”. It can sometimes be worth paying a small amount out of pocket if it means a faster recovery and less time suffering in pain and missing out on living your life. If a high quality clinic and a highly skilled therapist can get you back to living your life in a matter of months versus suffering for years… is it worth it to you?
5.) Because it’s the Cheapest Clinic
You get what you pay for. If you pay for the cheapest product on the shelf… you are normally fully aware that it might not perform as well or last as long as a more expensive product. The same goes for clinics and rehab. A cheaper clinic/ appointment might mean a lower quality of care. Ask yourself “Is price the most important factor in my injury recovery”. As I mentioned above, returning to your life quicker and healthier may be more important to you.
Not to mention a less effective but cheaper treatment might require more appointments in total and you therefore might end up paying more in the long run anyways!
DO Choose a Clinic for these reasons
1.) A friend or family member recommended them
I mean, you trust your friends and family don’t you? They wouldn’t recommend a poor quality clinic to you to help with your injury. They do want the best for you after all. So ask your friends and family members about their experiences. It will help you build a short list of potential clinics or maybe even eliminate some you were considering.
2.) They have GREAT google reviews!
I mean many many 5 star reviews! These are real people just like you with real injuries and pain. And they’re telling you that they’ve received REAL results and great service at that clinic. So believe them!
And better yet, skim through their reviews ( or testimonials on their website) to look for people who sound like you or have the same injury as you.
3.) Their website feels like it was made just for you
The philosophy of the clinic should resonate with you. Instead of looking for a specific type of professional or a specific technique, look for a clinic who shares your values and who helps people just like you.
Once you make a short list of 5 or 10 clinics you are considering, go to their website and read a bit more about then. Look at their home page, their “about us” page, and even watch a video or read a blog or two. Choose a clinic that makes sense for you and your needs.
PS- It’s a red flag if there is so much technical jargon on their website that you really can’t understand much of what it is saying!
4.) They take the time to speak with you when you call
If you call and only receive assistance if you intend to book an appointment… that’s a red flag. You should be able to call and ask about the pain/ injury you are experiencing and if they work with that sort of thing. They should be welcoming, understanding, and ask you questions about what you are going through. Essentially, they should be willing to give you the time of day regardless of it you are ready to book an appointment or not.
We know that it can be time consuming to ask friends or family for recommendations, to do a thorough online search, read through websites, and call to gather info. But we firmly believe that a little bit of time and effort now will save you a lot of wasted time and suffering in the long term.
And if you are in so much pain that you can’t imagine focusing your attention on doing these tasks, have a family member or friend help you choose the right clinic. Tell them what is important to you, even give them this blog to read! And let them do the “vetting” process for you. We all need a little help sometimes.
If you are interested in speaking with us here at Competitive Edge about what we do and if we might be a good fit for you and your injury… just reach out! One of our talented team members would be happy to speak with you about what you are dealing with and to give you some direction and guidance.
Simply fill out this form to request to SPEAK WITH A THERAPIST and we’ll be in touch shortly!
Rooting for you,