Colonoscopies and other things no one wants to talk about

Last month I joined the colonoscopy club. Yep, I’m 45 and that is now the age at which colon cancer screening begins. If you missed this change during Covid, you’re not alone. 

I’m thrilled I don’t have to do that again for 10 years and I’m even happier that I did it and can rest easy knowing my colon is healthy! 

To all my middle-aged peers, I urge you not to delay this important screening. 36 hours of inconvenience is well worth the piece of mind!

Fresh off my first colonoscopy seems like the perfect time to drop a little PSA in your inbox about the importance of ALL medical screenings. 

You might be thinking, you’re a physical therapist, it’s up to my primary care physician to make sure I get my screenings done – what gives?

You may not realize it, but anytime you go to your physical therapist with a new problem, we’re screening for all kinds of general medical issues and guiding you toward improved health habits (think hydration, sleep, healthy movement) whenever possible. 

Yes, we’re certainly checking for orthopedic issues, but we are also screening for all kinds of things we don’t treat. 

It’s our job to make sure that the problem we’re treating you for is truly neuro musculoskeletal in nature. 

✅ We screen to make sure that the back pain you came to us with is not from a kidney issue or worse yet, cancer.
✅ When our pelvic health PTs do an internal exam, they are screening for tissue health.
✅When we do manual therapy, we’re doing a visual screen of your skin, often areas you can’t see, like your low back. If we see any skin spots that appear abnormal, we’ll advise you to have your dermatologist look at them.

And as we go along in the course of your care, we’re paying careful attention to how your body is responding.

Are things improving as expected within the expected timeline? 

I’ve mentioned before that we’re pretty passionate about results. Good results mean our diagnosis is correct and the selected treatment is appropriate. 

If you don’t get results, it’s our job to help you figure out why. Oftentimes, we simply need to adjust the treatment plan. 

Sometimes we may send you to your primary care physician or a specialist to do some tests to give us more information about the condition we’re treating or test for non-orthopedic issues (those things we don’t treat) that could be causing your symptoms. 

Over the years, I’ve heard some pretty horrific stories of people continuing waaaaayyyyy too long with physical therapy intervention that didn’t change their leg/back/neck/shoulder pain, because the cause of their pain wasn’t orthopedic in nature. 

Many (not all) of these situations are avoidable when providers are utilizing medical screening, sound examination skills, good clinical reasoning and collaborating sooner rather than later with other providers when a patient isn’t responding to care. 

My goal with providing this info is not to scare you, but rather to empower you as a patient. 

Yes, great results take time, but you should see lots of signs that your plan of care definitely has you headed toward your goals and you should experience small improvements along the way. 

And to be clear, 99% of the time the injuries and conditions that clients come to our physical therapists with are truly neuro-musculoskeletal in nature and are perfectly suited for the care we provide.

I urge you to have a check-in with yourself about any nagging health issues that you’ve put on the back burner. 

If your gut is telling you something could be better with your health, I urge you to do something about it. 

Whether it’s resolving your nagging back pain, getting out the door for your daily run or scheduling that overdue annual physical, you (and your loved ones) will be so happy you got after it! 

Call/text 206-535-7356 email, if you’d like our team’s help achieving better health!