'Times' Article on PT Treatment Misleads
By Guest Blogger Carole Lewis, DPT, GCS, GTC, MSG, MPA, PhD, FAPTA
On Jan. 6, 2010, in its Fitness and Nutrition Section, the New York Times published an article entitled, "Treat Me But No Tricks Please." The article by Rita Kolata, a professional journalist, used out-of-context statements and shoddy research to defame a well-regarded profession that has helped many people from all walks of life and of all ages. Ms. Kolata invoked such phrases as "voodoo" science and "waste of time" to describe therapy treatments, without putting into context how a physical therapist works. There were no discussions of rehabilitation of torn ACLs, no weight-bearing exercises for the recent hip replacement surgery, no exercises to improve activities of daily living for the elderly patient with osteoporosis and scoliosis. The only story was about the doctor, who hadn't started running again eight weeks after spraining his ankle. Was it a severe or mild sprain? Was there a fracture and/or ligament damage? Was it the case that he just hadn't started running yet, because he was too busy being interviewed by the Times?
Physical therapy practitioners have shown the efficacy of treatments in a wide variety of settings and there is a continuing effort to develop practice guidelines and to establish baseline measures, norms and other quantitative approaches to establish the health benefits of physical therapy interventions. Ms. Kolata chose to focus on hearsay and innuendo and not the scientific process in her article.
To be fair, the physical therapy profession, like all in the scientific community, must endeavor to study its methods and results and publish in peer-reviewed literature. At the same time, experimental techniques must be investigated and tested; sometimes they hold promise and sometimes not, but comparing platelet therapy (a controversial new technique) to the entire profession of physical therapy is inappropriate at best, and at worst a journalistic trick, conjured in bad faith.
For more on this subject, tune into YouTube as Dr. Carole Lewis comments further on Ms. Kolata's article. The link can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yq5t5phUh8Y or http://www.greatseminarsonline.com/