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Toni Talks about PT Today

Sharing Knowledge

Published October 9, 2013 9:37 AM by Toni Patt

When I teach, I describe using mental imagery in motor learning and as anti-neglect strategy. One of the main tenets of motor learning is repetition or as I say, practice, practice and practice some more. The concept of using mental imagery isn't new. Sports therapists and trainers have been preaching it for decades. What's new is how the concept is gradually working its way into the neurological world.

There are great divides between the different sections of physical therapy. Reading orthopedic literature is almost like reading another language to me. The terminology is foreign and the techniques aren't easily visualized. I do better with pediatrics since there's a neurological foundation to what they do. I'm sure the ortho people think the same of neurological literature.

I always poll the OTs when I teach. They consistently tell me it isn't the same in their literature, which is more global in its topics. I don't know if OTs have less specialization and therefore less need of special terminology, or if everything they do generalizes.

Over the years, I've noticed the divide widening. It's good to have therapists who need special terms to describe clinical skills in whatever section they identify with. The problem is the growing inability of sections to communicate and therefore borrow from another. Not that long ago, I attended an ortho-oriented CEU session where the topic was neuroplasticity. They were just discovering it.

The information is out there. All it takes is someone to make the leap to new applications of how we already do something. That will only happen if we step out of our comfortable worlds and see what others are doing. I'm guilty. When I go to CSM, I stick to neurological and some geriatric courses. Worse, I choose anything stroke-related first. I'm not going to get much outside exposure doing that. CSM might not be the best time to widen my horizons but there's plenty of home-study material available.

We need to start sharing more. Maybe it's time for someone to develop a physical therapy dictionary as an adjunct to the medical one most of us already own.

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