I Have a QuestionAuthor: Casey Chaney
If my basic dental insurance covers my seeing my dentist twice a year for a checkup for my teeth, why doesn’t my health insurance cover seeing my physical therapist twice a year for all the rest of my body? Children are taught from a very young age to regularly brush and eventually learn about flossing and the importance of visiting the dentist (usually biannually) in order to maintain good oral health over their lifetime. For many healthy adults the biannual visit involves dental cleaning and a “quick check” by the dentist with occasional X-ray imaging. Generally, in adults, we have 32 permanent teeth – including 4 “wisdom” teeth. However, in the adult human body we have 206 bones and 640 skeletal muscles and that is not even counting the essential cardiac muscle – i.e., the human heart! Physical therapists are health care professionals with doctoral level education, which includes cadaver anatomy in order to study all of these bones and muscles, as well as the central and peripheral nervous system within the human body. As importantly, physical therapists are educated to clinically analyze and treat the source of any problems in our neuromusculoskeletal systems in order to maximize our ability to move throughout our lives. This is important because it is believed that movement is key to optimal living and quality of life. This is exemplified in the current vision statement adopted by the APTA in 2013: “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.