Once every four years a collection of some of the most renowned minds in the field of physical therapy come together for The International Federation of Manual Physical Therapy (IFOMPT) Conference. This go-round, the conference was in Glasgow, Scotland. 

As with all conferences, there were a TON of takeaways. Some from an interpersonal perspective, meeting and discussing issues in our field with our colleagues. Other takeaways came from the vast amounts of literature that are produced to help guide us in delivering the highest quality care possible.

Here are the top takeaways from my perspective as a manual therapist and cash practice owner from this year’s IFOMPT Conference:

First, the Good News

First, the things I’m very excited about:

  • The brand of our treatment approach, SPARK Physiotherapy, which began in a small treatment room in Alexandria, is now poised to play a powerful role in advancing the field of physical therapy (PT) in the greater DMV and maybe even have a greater reach than that for a few reasons:
    1. Our core values mirror those of the leading minds in our field. These values include:
      • Creating an unparalleled therapeutic experience for our clients
      • Providing the most evidence-based manual therapy care possible
      • Providing the most evidence-based movement therapy possible
      • Creating an accessible and effective environment for life-long wellness to take place under the direct supervision of a skilled provider
      • Creating an environment where the best patient and professional advocacy can take place
      • Continually expanding our services to provide a “wholistic” approach to community health and engaging public awareness of fitness programming
  • PTs in the U.S. are keeping pace with the great work in clinical practice and research done around the globe.

Now, the Bad News

Now for the unfortunate truth about where our profession currently lies; this is the stuff that I will find hard to share with my colleagues but I think bears a lot of reflection:

  • Physios world-wide present a wealth of education and treatment power to our communities but are continually handcuffed by red-tape and unnecessary roadblocks to delivering the most well-documented care available.
  • We are far from truly valuing our own ability to deliver service to our communities.
  • We are still undecided, and at odds, about whether or not we have ANY power to do anything special for our clients that a psychologist or friend could do.
  • Volume-first care is prevailing world-wide over value-first care; mostly due in part to our lack of self-efficacy and self-worth within the world of physical medicine.
  • We still have a long way to go in terms of offering our entry-level PTs the ability to have a high level of impact on the moving human; while we may have the SKILL we do not have the practical application of those skills in any capacity that would be competitive with those in strength and conditioning or personal training.

Looking to the Future

So where do we go from here? What do we want to see happen between right NOW and IFOMPT Melbourne 2020?

  1. I want everyone who reads this to do at least ONE (1) thing EVERY DAY that makes another person close to them think about physio if they ever have pain or physical restriction to an activity of life (sport, recreation, or life) that limits them from living their fullest experience.
  2. Everyone who reads this should share these sentiments with AT LEAST ONE OTHER PHYSIO. You might not get agreement each time. In fact, most physios, I’ve found, are very much attached to their current way of practicing and they may see your insight as a threat to their way of life. That’s okay. All I implore is that you enter into their consciousness. There is a better way. You’re allowed to value your hard work. Those who seek your care should also value it.
  3. Respect each other always. You may not agree with every physio, physical therapist, physician, nurse, personal trainer, yoga instructor…. you come in contact with. You may roundly disagree with everything they stand for. BUT realize please, that each of us who puts our hands on another human has experience they can share and that you may learn from as long as a channel for that growth exists. If you fail to learn something, anything, from a practitioner of physical medicine, then YOU are the one who has missed the opportunity, not them.

Go forth and learn. If I’ve missed something here with regard to what I’ve seen at this conference I’m more than happy to continue this conversation via email, twitter or right here in the comments below.

Dr. Carlos J Berio, PT, DPT, MS, CSCS, CMTPT

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist.

Dr. Berio holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology and has treated high school, collegiate, recreational, and professional athletes of various sports including baseball, softball, football, hockey, tennis, swimming, golf and the martial arts. His experience as a collegiate and semi-professional athlete as well as a professional baseball coach make him a sought after resource among elite level athletes on the field and in the training room. The concept of ‘all the way well’ in his work as a physical therapist and fitness professional is what continues to drive Dr. Berio to be the best movement specialist there is.

Carlos remains active in several sports and is an avid agility training, power lifting and adventure race runner. He is an advocate for his patients, clients and his fellow PT colleagues. He can be reached at [email protected].

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