Physical Therapy Didn’t Work For Me. What Went Wrong?

Written by:
Ian Kornbluth
March 7, 2022

As a physical therapist for over 20 years, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I’ve tried PT but it didn’t work for me.” When I ask what they did, the typical response was something like, “I went for a few visits and they had me do exercises that I could just do at home.” Sometimes they would exclaim, “The PT was nice but she was on her phone (or computer) most of the time!” They would often say, “The PT I saw on the first visit could help me, but then I got put with other PTs who didn’t seem to know what that first PT had figured out.” The all-time best reply I got was, “The PT would stretch me for a few minutes and then have me do exercises in the corner with the kid who does the laundry!”

These comments make me cringe. That’s because I know how much time and money those physical therapists invested into their careers to become Doctors of Physical Therapy. I know how much they studied to graduate at the top of their class in high school and college. I know how brutally competitive it was for them to get accepted into PT school. I know how much went into learning about the human body and ways to heal it. I know how many hours they had to volunteer and work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other settings to learn from other physical therapists in the field.

However, after all that, they end up working in a place where they must treat 2, 3 or even 4 patients every hour, not to mention the endless hours of chart documentation. I doubt any of them became physical therapists to make these "mill" companies so much money. They did it to help people. My point is, they are not bad physical therapists. They are just stuck in a business model where quantity of care is more important than quality.

So here’s a staggering statistic that should make you think twice about where you go for physical therapy. In a conventional high-volume setting, only 6% to 25% of all patients actually complete a full course of care. That means up to 94% of all patients drop out of physical therapy. (Source: The State of Rehab Therapy by WebPT)

Here are common reasons why physical therapy doesn’t work:

• The PT juggles multiple patients at the same time

• The PT treats you like a number

• The PT treats you like a body part

• The PT provides cookie-cutter treatments

• The PT looks more at their phone than at you

• The PT spends more time doing paperwork than treating you

• The PT applies outdated methods (Do you really need to be on a stationary bike?)

• The PT has little experience with your specific condition and needs

• The PT works on just one part of your body, instead of understanding the body as a whole

• You spend more time with a rehab aide than the PT

• You get bounced around from PT to PT

• You realize that no one is actually invested in your health

When I started Activcore in 2004, I knew there must be a better way to help people. So I ventured outside of the insurance networks to deliver a more personalized, value-driven experience that gets results. Here are 10 essential features of our unconventional model:

One-on-one. We stay by your side at every session and throughout our proven 3-step process for rebuilding a balanced body.

Tailored. We do not subscribe to a one-size-fits-all philosophy. Each treatment is customized to your individual needs, lifestyle and goals.

Holistic. We test and treat you from head to toe. Oftentimes the source of the problem is far away from where you actually feel pain.

Targeted. We find and fix the source of the problem, instead of endlessly chasing the symptoms.

Consistent. We do not bounce you around. Rather we match you up with a physical therapist that is best suited for your particular health condition.

PTs only. We do not employ technicians or aides. Every examination, exercise instruction, and hands-on technique is delivered by a licensed physical therapist.

Progressive. We apply the latest tools and methods from around the world, like Redcord, Hypopressives and Postural Restoration.

Specialized. We have advanced training in niche areas of practice, such as vestibular rehab, TMJ disorders, cancer rehab, pelvic health, and concussion recovery & prevention.

Educational. We teach you how to safely move, balance and stabilize your body with help from the Redcord suspension system.

Integrated fitness. We offer ongoing performance training to support your recovery and unleash your body’s full potential.

Not surprisingly, when you (and your PT) are put into a quality healing environment, physical therapy does work! Check out this video to learn more about the Activcore difference.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

Ian Kornbluth

Co-Founder & CEO | Physical Therapist
Ian's entrepreneurial spirit stems from growing up in Arizona around the family business, a small chain of pizzeria restaurants. Essentially they were among the first to bring New York style pizza to the Valley of the Sun. Early on in life, Ian learned how to treat the customer like a person rather than a number. He observed how the community came together to support an establishment that offered both quality food and an exceptional customer service experience. He also learned to appreciate the levels of commitment and perseverance that it took to pioneer something.


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