Medical Doctors This page was written to inform Physicians about the style and philosophy with which I care for my patients.
Physical Therapy in General
Physical Therapists identify and treat mechanical problems as opposed to medical problems. We are trained to test and evaluate our patients for their physical loss of function in their activities of daily living. (Posture, sitting, standing gait, and sports motions.) Testing is based around practical evaluations of the physical system but does involve the usual exam protocols, such as inspection, palpation, orthopedic and neurological testing (cursory compared to testing by an MD), and unique to physical therapy, functional assessments (sitting, standing, gait analysis). Our primary goal is to improve the individual’s function and independence. Implicit in improving function is reduction or elimination of pain. Movement reeducation - Having determined the direction of susceptibility creating the chronic pain, a program is devised to reorganize movement patterns, such that movement is less degenerative and more harmonious with gravity and the environment.
Manual therapy is a specialty within physical therapy which uses more hands-on methods of addressing muscle, tendon, soft tissue and joint problems. Many of the things a manual therapist senses or measures with her hands are not visible through imaging. Why do we need manual therapy? Many types of chronic spine and joint pain are due to joints that lack normal motion, or have become rigid or fixed in an abnormal position. This can cause chronic inflammation in the soft tissues and thus chronic pain. By restoring mobility, manual therapy can bring rapid pain relief for non-resolving conditions like foot pain, post-fracture and casting soreness, chronic neck or spine pain, sacroiliac joint pain, ligament strains and spine muscle strains.
A I matured as a physical therapist I began to suspect that as the primary profession responsible for physical rehabilitation we were not adequately trained in the skill of joint manipulation. I would be shocked when a patient or friend went off to some mysterious clinic to have their spine “adjusted” (“You went where? They did what?”) so that they could come back to PT for their rehab. Finally, I decided I wanted that skill. After receiving my Doctor of Chiropractic, I came face to face with the controversies surrounding chiropractors and their “adjustments”.
Two misconceptions about adjustments: 1) That the bone is “out of place”. Actually, the bone is in place but stuck, locked or jammed into one corner of its normal play. 2) You have to “keep getting corrected”. Frequent visits “forever” are not necessary – rather exercise, in particular the therapeutically focused exercises prescribed by physical therapists, are the key to stabilization.
I have now spent more than 20 years learning how to blend my two professions. I remain committed to my fundamental orientation as a physical therapist: finding the simplest and most functional way to establish pain-free independence for the patient. Chiropractic has turned out to be a powerful instrument for achieving that goal.
There is a lot of research demonstrating the efficacy of chiropractic. Here is just one recent example.
T.W. Meade, a British medical doctor, compared chiropractic manipulation and hospital outpatient treatment for low-back pain, consisting of corset wearing and standard physical therapy. The study concluded:
“For patients with low-back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated, chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long-term benefit in comparison to hospital outpatient management.”
A follow-up study published in the August 5, 1995 edition of BMJ provided even more convincing data. Chiropractic patients not only reported less pain than physical therapy patients at six weeks, but three years later the chiropractic patients reported a 29% greater improvement.
The most dramatic improvements were associated with pain reduction, but many of the improvements concerned function and quality of life. For example: sitting for more than a short period of time, sleeping, personal care, lifting, walking, standing, sex life, social life, and ability to travel showed marked improvement.
I feel it is my responsibility to give my patients the best functional outcome I can. My experience, as well as growing evidence provided by research, indicates that manipulation is safe, effective, and in many situations the treatment of choice. In those situations, manipulation is conservative management.
Recent private practice locations
2012 - Present Holistic Physical Therapy, Montara, CA Owner/Director
On the San Mateo Coast, between Half Moon Bay and Pacifica
2000 – 2013 Holistic Physical Therapy, Palo Alto, CA
Privately owned Physical Therapy Clinic.
1995 - 2000 Private Practice Palo Alto, CA
Private Practice in a space at the Spinal Institute.
1992 - 1995 Private Practice Sunnyvale, CA
Educational course work 1974-1979 University of Albuquerque, NM Albuquerque, NM BS in Physical Therapy 1987-1991 Palmer College of Chiropractic West Sunnyvale, CA Graduated with a Dr. of Chiropractic Degree
Work Experience 1979-1982 Holy Cross Hospital Taos, NM Acute Care Physical Therapist
Orthopedic and Neurological physical therapy rehabilitation.
Contact: Ron Holmes (505) 758-8761
1982-1983 (Independent Travel) Japan Physical Therapist
Independent travel and study in Japan looking into oriental medicine as a possible sub-specialty.
1983-1987 Out-Patient Neurological Rehab PT Madison, WI Physical Therapist
Home health care physical therapy.
This dept no longer exists. Contact: VNS PT Dept (608) 242-1516.
1995-1997 Rehab Outcome Therapy Clinic San Jose, CA Physical Therapist
Home health care physical therapy
1997-1998 TriCity Physical Therapy Fremont, CA Physical Therapist
Home health care physical therapy.
1987-1991 (Various) Physical Therapist
Various part-time jobs in out-patient PT clinics such as Health South while going to school in chiropractic.
Continuing education in many areas of Orthopedics Rehabilitation and manual therapy, including Osteopathic Myofascial techniques. Over forty courses in the past 20 years.
Spanish and English fluently, as well as minimal French.
To provide a high quality Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Clinic. This practice is offering the community a unique service that does not exist today in most clinics. It offers a threefold specialty in Physical Therapy, Manual Therapy and Myofascial techniques. The owner is trained in all three and hopes to inspire all future employees to specialize in these regions so as to provide the community with a highly specialized hands-on “Manual Therapy Clinic”.
Holistic Physical Therapy: Integrating Physical Therapy , Chiropractic and Myofascial Massage Techniques Gale McIntosh PT, DC 650.563.4076 (Se Habla Español) 300 Main St. Suite 5, HMB, Ca. 94019