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  • Writer's pictureDr. Patrick Thompson, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopractic

Unraveling the Connection of Physical Therapy and Personal Training

Physical Therapy keeps you in the gym on your fitness journey
Physical Therapy and Personal Training have a complimentary approach to your health.

We’ve heard it all before:

  • “I don’t need PT (Physical Therapy) because I go to my trainer”

  • “Why do I need PT if I already exercise with my trainer?”

  • “If I come to PT, does that mean that I can’t go to my fitness classes?”

These are all legitimate concerns and questions when it comes to your fitness goals, injury rehab and pain journey. 

So first I want to start here. In choosing to work with either a Personal Trainer or a Physical Therapist, the question is not “Which one?” but rather “Which ones?”

Did you spot the subtle difference? You should not be choosing between the professions as a decision of exclusion, but rather choosing which provider from EACH profession to be working with. 

But why? Do I really need a team if one provider says they can fill multiple roles?

You see, you are allowed to build your tribe of healthcare and fitness providers. And all too often you are bombarded with marketing and advertisements of professionals claiming to “do it all” or being the experts in areas when they clearly are not. For example (sports reference incoming - sorry), just because the Center on your basketball team is pretty good at shooting 3 point shots, doesn’t mean they should shoot 3-pointers all game. It makes more sense - and it is better for your entire basketball team - for the Center to play their position effectively and let the other members of the team do what they need to do. So when it comes to your healthcare team, the true definition of a comprehensive approach is a team that welcomes collaboration with each specialty. 

Ok - so what exactly is the Physical Therapist’s role on my team?

My specialty is quite clearly needed and preferred when you have a diagnosed injury or pain affecting your function. This is because I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (as awarded by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties), as well as having earned my post-Doctorate Diploma in Osteopractic Physical Therapy (as awarded by the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy). Additionally, I am fellowship trained through AAMT with advanced skill sets in Dry Needling, Spinal Manipulation, Differential Diagnosis, Scraping/Blading/Cupping, and more. 

And where does a Personal Trainer fit into this?

Your favorite personal trainer likely does a fabulous job designing and implementing workout programs and workout plans that are catered to your fitness goals. Each personal trainer will have unique backgrounds in a variety of exercise methods and kinesiology and will likely be able to assist you in accomplishing your fitness goals.

So how do these professions come together for you?

The conundrum arises when you sustain an injury before or during your personal training/fitness journey and suddenly your goals seemingly dissipate. This is the pivotal moment where many people make the mistake of choosing either/or (Physical Therapy versus Personal Training) instead of harvesting a collaborative approach of continuing to work with your personal trainer while addressing your injury with your Physical Therapist.

As healthcare providers, we should invite collaboration that improves the outcomes for our patients. 

And if you are being told that you don’t “need” another profession or that “We can do it all here,” well, oftentimes this is coming from a scarcity mindset. A mindset that your provider is afraid to lose you as a patient or client and they secretly only value the financial transaction and maybe not your overall improvement. 

But at our clinic, Flow Physical Therapy and Wellness in The Woodlands, TX, we value being a cog in the wheel of your healthcare team. We understand our expertise, and we understand where we fit into your journey in getting you back to your best version of you - even while you juggle multiple appointments concurrently with a variety of providers.

So if you have already embarked on a fitness journey, and have begun to assemble a team of providers to keep you moving forward and pain free, then give us a call or click below and we would love to chat about how we fit within your needs.

Dr. Patrick Thompson, PT, DPT, OCS, Dip. Osteopractic

Owner of Flow Physical Therapy and Wellness


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