Most athletes need help to recover from an injury at some point. Athletes in fighting sports have particular needs due to the nature of the sport they compete in. If you have been injured while competing in a fighting sport, it is important to choose the right physical therapist to help you recover.
Talk to Your Doctor
There are several reasons to talk to your doctor before you start looking for a physical therapist. First, your doctor is familiar with your medical history and may be able to recommend someone based on your unique needs, such as a history of stroke or heart disease. Second, some therapists may require a referral from your primary care doctor before they will schedule you for an appointment. Even if the therapist doesn’t require it, your insurance company may. Finally, your doctor may be able to direct you to other resources that will help with your recovery.
Keep in mind that you do not have to go to the therapist that your doctor recommends. Some doctors have a financial interest in recommending specific therapists, so if the therapist your doctor suggests doesn’t seem like the right fit, don’t feel obligated to go there.
Consider the Location
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For most injuries, you will be going to your therapist’s office two to three times per week. Take into account how close the office is to your home or work. If you have an injury that impairs your mobility, consider how difficult it will be for you to get into and out of the building and whether you can arrange transportation to get there if you can’t drive.
Research the Available Services
If you need a particular type of therapy, such as adaptive equipment or aquatic therapy, make sure the therapist you are considering offers those services. See if you can find a therapist in your area that specializes in dealing with injuries from fighting sports.
Ask About Experience
Find out how many patients the therapist has worked with who had the same type of injury as you. The more experience the therapist has with similar cases, the better results you are likely to get. Ask if the therapist is licensed and ask about certifications and credentials. Find out how much experience the therapist has working with athletes in general and fighting sports athletes in particular. Your therapist must be familiar with the unique needs of athletes.
You will be spending a lot of time with your therapist, so choose someone who you like. If you dread going to your appointments because you don’t like the therapist, you probably will quit going. You should feel comfortable talking to the therapist about your injury and your treatment. You also need to be on the same page about your treatment goals. If your goal is to return to competing, you don’t want to work with a therapist who doesn’t want to do the work to get you back in fighting shape.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Physical therapy sessions can be expensive if you have to pay for them out-of-pocket. Make sure that the service is covered by your policy and that the therapist accepts your insurance. Find out what your co-payment or co-insurance will be so you can plan your budget. What is coinsurance? It’s the amount you must pay for covered health care after the deductible is satisfied. Find out if the clinic will submit claims on your behalf or if you will need to do all the paperwork yourself.
Read Online Reviews
Look for online reviews of the therapist and the practice the therapist works for. If a lot of past clients have complained about the service they received, you may want to avoid that therapist.
Recovering from injuries is never a pleasant process. However, choosing the right physical therapist can help you get back to the sport you love in less time and with less loss of function. Your therapy needs are unique, so take the time to choose the therapist that is the best fit for you.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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