Physical Therapy School: Year 1 Review

It has been a significant amount of time since I wrote anything, whether of relevance or not. It’s been fairly hectic over the last 8 months and this unfortunately just got put on the back burner. Since I am writing this post, I passed through my first year of Physical Therapy school.

The reason I am writing this because I’m in a position where I currently work as a chiropractor and for some stupid reason (created by our society) chiropractors and physical therapists are suppose to be clashing professionals. I am currently still waiting on a legitimate reason as to why they disagree. FYI, both professions are not “Doctors.” There is not a chiropractic medical school or a physical therapy medical school. And I personally don’t think they become movement experts just because you are in school for 3 years. 

The classes that made up the first year in PT School:

  • Gross Anatomy
  • Biomechanics and Kinesiology
  • General Pathology, Pharmacology, Review of Systems
  • Neuroscience/Neuroanatomy
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Fundamental Physical Therapy Skills
  • Research in Physical Therapy
  • Introduction to Evidence Based Practice
  • Physical Agents

The classes that made up the first year in DC School:

  • Philosophy and Practice
  • Gross Anatomy
  • Embryology
  • Histology and Cellular Physiology
  • Fundamentals of Physiology
  • Neuroanatomy/Neuroscience
  • General Pathology
  • Biochemistry
  • Principles of Chiropractic Analysis
  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Chiropractic Clinical Evaluation
  • Microbiology
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Cardiac and Pulmonary Physiology
  • Endocrine and Reproductive Physiology
  • Principles of Chiropractic Technique
  • Radiographic Anatomy

The main reason for the class discrepancy is because the PT program I am in is weekends only. But you can see aside from philosophy classes many of the classes taken in the first year of PT school are similar to that of DC school. You can see the similarities in the course load for both physical therapists and chiropractors. Teaching students about physiology, anatomy, neuroanatomy is the same chiropractic school and physical therapy. You can’t have a PT or DC spin on how nerves innervates muscles or measuring range of motion in a hip or shoulder.

My Takeaways after the Year 1:

  • My biggest gripe with each of the programs is the concept of “Evidence-based practice” because evidence has a chance of being skewed and bias towards what the researchers are hoping to find or bias towards showing improvement. Yes, they both attempt to teach you how to read research articles and how to find “good” research but what I’ve seen in clinical work it doesn’t appear that many in the PT and DC profession provide “evidence-based” care. And those were the classes I struggled the most in, in both schools. To say I was disinterested was an understatement.

  • Given that Neumann is a weekend-based program, I still am surprised about the lack of focus groups developed by the students. What I mean by that is in chiropractic school there were a lot of clubs that were offered to the students to do extended learning and get hands on right away. There were several different technique groups where students could learn (outside of class) and get experience you didn’t get until early in the second year of school. Also having more experienced students teaching you can be more effective than a professor teaching you. I can say that this does not occur at Neumann, maybe because it’s a weekend program, but I don’t want to generalize that to all other physical therapy schools.
  • The built in stigmatism for chiropractors is evident. I really would like to know how it all started. But there were some classes, where a professor would say:
    • “I had a patient who was adjusted by a chiropractor and they got worse and the chiropractor said to keep coming back.”
    • “A patient had stroke because of chiropractic adjustments.”
    • “Chiropractors hang signs on the door that say “rehabilitative” specialists but they aren’t”
  • The first year of PT school and the first year of DC school are similar. I can personally do without the history lessons of chiropractic, but I do understand why those classes are built in the program.
  • Why am I still doing group projects?
  • I was complacent with my studying. I assumed that I could get by with many of the classes because of having heard this information on repeat and thinking my clinical experiences would help. But clinical experiences does not translate to school examinations and studies.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Time to start Year 2.


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