Giving Physios a bad name… Frustrating!

APTEI LogoBy: Bahram Jam

I am certain that all GOOD Physiotherapists get frustrated the same way I do when they hear from their patients of the sub-optimal care they have received from past therapists.

I simply don’t understand why some PTs practice the way they do giving the far majority of us bad names.

Here are 5 PT practices that really frustrate me (and probably you!)

1) PTs who see more than 4 patients an hour. I know a clinic where they “see” 10 an hour.

Is that Physiotherapy or assembly line “therapy”? I realize in the end it is about business, but in my opinion it is bad business and bad for the profession!

2) PTs who prescribe assembly line exercises and simply refer the patient to a Kinesiologist.

For example, all patients blindly get core exercises or back extensions. Is specific exercise prescription not the primary focus of our PT education? Should PTs not be the primary profession providing that?

3) PTs who use ONLY modalities on every patient.

For example all patients with back pain receive IFC and heat and literally that’s it. This reliance on modalities destroys our professional credibility. I know firsthand a number of MDs who perceive PT being a waste of time as they look at passive modalities and “physiotherapy” to be synonymous. How sad!

No wonder I have such loathing for passive modalities. I realize there is place for modalities but I just hate having the PT profession being known as passive modality providers.

4) PTs who do not use functional outcomes measures to monitor their patients’ progress or the lack of.

Patients are seen month after month, 3 times a week even though they have made no significant progress. How about this for a concept, if the patient is not responding to your interventions, be honest and refer them on to someone else. Look for another PT in your area with an expertise in what the patient needs in

5) Clinics that schedule one patient to be seen by 3 different PTs within 3 different treatment sessions.

I personally feel it is wrong to be seen by multiple PTs; then what was the point of the initial assessment? There are of course always exceptions when a patient has to be seen by another PT but generally patients build rapport and prefer to see the same PT, MD, Dentist or the same Chiropractor. If it is your car, perhaps it’s OK to see different mechanics, even then people prefer the same mechanic!

I know when patients are simply transferred to multiple PTs we demean our profession and the patient may not feel that they are receiving optimal health care but are receiving assembly line care.

If you feel you fall in the category of being a “good” PT, please register yourself on

It is complimentary and you have full access to change or delete your info whenever you wish.

If you took the time to read this email, I make a good assumption that you are an excellent PT. As always I welcome your feedback on this topic and my new VOMIT poster.

Sincerely, Bahram Jam, PT

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