Last week we discussed the importance of collaborating with multiple practitioners to maximize the effectiveness of your treatments. So, what exactly does this look like?
Whenever I refer a patient to another practitioner, I make sure I explain to them why. Then, whenever possible, I talk to the other provider that my patient sees. This brings up an obstacle that we as massage therapists will likely experience our entire careers.
Massage therapists don’t have a lot of respect in the medical community. Often times when we reach out to try to collaborate with a physician they just don’t want to respond. They have no problem with their patient seeing a massage therapist as a secondary treatment, but they don’t see the value in collaborating with the therapist.
To be honest, I don’t blame them given the lack of orthopedic knowledge that most wellness massage therapists have. I have a had a hard time collaborating with some other massage therapists because they don’t understand physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, and pathology on a level that allows them to contribute to a medical conversation.
This lack of knowledge does not mean that these individuals are bad therapists. They are likely fantastic wellness massage therapists, they likely have great hands, but they don’t have the medical knowledge to be able to advise their peers about a patient’s condition. This is largely a result of the education given in basic massage therapy schools in this country. They just don’t cover enough medical info!
When you do find a practitioner that is willing to talk to you, make use of it! There is a chiropractor that I have been collaborating with for about ten years now. She is the best chiropractor I have ever worked with in my career. I trust her, and I can send anyone too her.
We talk on the phone, we communicate via text, we get the value of each other’s opinions about every patient that sees both of us. Our collaboration goes beyond our medical knowledge as well. Often times if a patient is not happy with the treatment their therapist provided, they won’t tell us. for insurance patients But, they are more likely to tell another practitioner and its extremely valuable to know when a patient didn’t like a treatment. We share the feedback that our clients give to each other so we can make sure we serve their needs.
I also can’t tell you how many times a patient unintentionally leaves out a piece of information with one practitioner that gets caught when we collaborate.
Sometimes two modalities are right, but they are not right when performed together. By communicating about the treatments we are providing our patients, we can make sure we are not working against each other. It is gratifying to hear from our patients when the combination of our work gets the results they have been looking for.