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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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My parents are snowbirds between Montana and Arizona. They both have fairly bad hip arthritis that they try to manage with exercise and good nutrition. Neither one of them want to have surgery. We think they should try and see a physical therapist in both places. But they are concerned that it would be too confusing with too many different suggestions and exercises. Don't people with problems like this get the same treatment wherever they go?

Surprisingly, even with today's high-speed technology and ultra-fast communications, not everyone has the same information or ideas about treatment. And that's true even for common problems like hip osteoarthritis. However, there is a move in the medical world to help health care professionals get on the same page. That means if you have a health problem, condition, illness, disease, or injury -- no matter where you live, you should get the same top quality treatment based on the best evidence currently available. Toward that end, physicians and physical therapists are putting together something called clinical practice guidelines. As the name suggests, these guidelines are meant to help guide current practice. Most recently, a set of clinical practice guidelines has been published for hip osteoarthritis. The set of suggestions is based on a review of high-quality studies published between 1967 and 2008. It includes information about the pathology behind hip arthritis, the risk factors, and how the condition is diagnosed or classified. Other categories reviewed include examination measures and treatment used by physical therapists called interventions. Specific treatment interventions summarized include patient education, gait (walking) and balance training, manual therapy, and exercise. The hope is that therapists everywhere will read and use these clinical practice guidelines when evaluating patients with hip osteoarthritis and when establishing a plan of care. Though the specifics of exercises might vary somewhat, folks like your parents would benefit from the expertise of two different therapists. They could take whatever written instructions they are given and share it between therapists to ensure a smooth transition between places. It should work out quite well for them.


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