Training = Rehab. Rehab = Training is a concept that is the brainchild of friend and colleague, Dr. Charlie Weingroff. It’s a brilliant construct but the title may belie the true nature of Dr. Weingroff’s meaning. That is, Training = Rehab WHEN THE SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A PHYSICAL THERAPIST! This is a pretty important distinction that may be lost in translation so I wanted to be able to thank Dr. Weingroff for his work as well as provide a gentle assist at getting the truest sense of the statement across.

That said, here is an email we recently received referencing one of our most popular blog posts, Your personal trainer is more valuable than your physical therapist; just sayin’, and where the lack of knowledge within/between the disciplines of “trainer” and “therapist” is clearly apparent:

Hey Doctor Carlos,

My name is (J) and I just got done reading your article regarding “Personal trainers being of more value than your Physical Therapist.” I am a Personal Training Business Owner and do Progressive Rehab at a Chiropractic Clinic. 

I’ll get to the point. I am one of those trainers who finds myself almost being a “Physical Therapist,” although I do not have the education or intricate knowledge of one. (I do have Corrective Exercise and Post-Rehab Certifications.)

A lot like yourself, I want to fill that “gap.” What is the best way for personal trainers to work with physical therapists on solving this issue? Yes, the “top” must be involved on a higher basis due to higher education and better understanding of things. 

Thank your for any input you may have.

Still think that gap will be a piece of cake to cross??

My reply:

Hi (J),

Glad to hear that the post resonated with you. It sounds like you have the willingness to be among our allies in the personal training realm.

I only have a couple cautions for you that might help you establish more goodwill with the physical therapy community.

  1. Do you call what you do at your facility “progressive rehab”? This is a huge no-no. The issue of misinformation and confusing material like this is one of the biggest barriers to work between these two symbiotic disciplines. I completely understand why trainers like to use the word ‘rehab’ but it falsely implies the type of service that the client will be receiving. In this way, when the pain or dysfunction issue isn’t addressed solely with “corrective exercise” (another term that is confusing for the public, but I will stay on topic) the client thinks that “therapy”/"rehab”/ etc doesn’t work. There is lots that can be done to make all of this less confusing, but it’s not likely to actually happen as many different peoples’ bottom line is at peril if these changes are made.
  2. I’m certain that most of the public doesn’t understand what we do as therapists but a surprising amount of trainers, massage therapists and physicians also are very lacking in their knowledge of what a therapist's training and scope of practice involves. If each of these disciplines genuinely took the time to become educated on this subject, EVERYONE in the health-seeking public would be better off. Unfortunately, this is another of those situations that can’t be corrected as quickly as is needed to be of benefit to our communities.

I hope this is helpful to you. Thanks for being an ally.

So, how would YOU have answered this inquiry as a physical therapist? What if you were a personal trainer or massage therapist?

Looking forward to keeping the water clear so that we can all work better together and serve the public as we were trained.

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

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

Dr. Berio holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. He 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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