Yearly Physical Therapy Visits are Just as Important as Annual Cholesterol Tests
You know the drill: During your annual visit, your primary care physician will order a cholesterol
test. Combined with an assessment of health measures such as diet and exercise, the results of
the cholesterol test will provide your physician with the information she needs to make a
recommendation. If the results are positive, you might hear: “You’re doing great, keep doing
what you’ve been doing!” If the results are unfavorable, then you’re more likely to be told: “I’d
like you to walk for 20 additional minutes each day and eat cholesterol-lowering foods like
Over time, high cholesterol can cause fatty deposits to form in your arteries, putting you in a
high-risk category for heart disease and stroke. Similarly, the cumulative effects of poor posture
or a muscular imbalance, for example, can take a toll on your body and inhibit your ability to
move properly. That’s where a physical therapist comes in: Annual PT “checkups” can catch the
musculoskeletal problems that put you at risk for injury or limit your ability to function down the
One of the best tools in a PT’s prevention arsenal is the movement screen. By analyzing your
fundamental movements with a movement screen developed for their own practice or one that
requires certification such as the Functional Movement Screen (FMS™), PTs can get a clear
picture of what the future will bring for you. Based on the information gathered, a physical
therapist can help you safely reach your fitness goals and teach preventive strategies that can be
incorporated into your daily life.
Of course, it’s best to schedule your checkup before you’re experiencing a problem. That way,
your physical therapist can establish a baseline based on your functional level at that time and
use it to identify changes during subsequent annual visits. The effects of poor posture or a
muscular imbalance may not be immediately apparent to you, but they will be to your PT.
An annual “checkup” gives your PT an inside look at your musculoskeletal system, which is
comprised of your muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and other connective
tissues. It’s important that these essential internal structures are working together to support,
stabilize and move your body.
Just as taking an annual trek to the primary care physician helps to monitor your cholesterol
levels—and prevent heart disease—yearly physical therapy appointments allow your PT to
identify and address any changes in the way you move before they become something more.
Schedule your yearly PT exam with your favorite PT. Don't have one - we would love to meet you and see how we can help you reach all of your goals. Schedule here!