Picking a Manual Therapist, By Justin Rabinowitz

 So you are hurt… what to do, oh what to do…






If you are reading this blog, you either:

1)  Really enjoy watching videos made by Todd, being sure that you view these videos while wearing sunglasses seeing as Todd is the whitest human being since “Powder” (sorry dude, but for the love of Pete, get a tan!!!!!)








2) you are a general fitness enthusiast who enjoys getting knowledge bombs dropped on you by the fine gentleman at BeyondStrengthPerformance.com… BOOMSHAKALAKA!!!!!!

 You know what that means? It means you also probably push yourself too hard in the gym and might not always do what is best for your body.(No, sorry those 19 sets of preacher curls and 16 supersets of leg extensions so you get your inner thigh just right for beach season are NOT good)





Anyway, what does this all lead to? INJURY! Face it, we all get injured and need help so we can get back to training ASAP.

 So, where do you go when you get injured? Do you go to a Physical Therapist? Chiropractor? Massage Therapist (Parlor)? Heroin dealer? SOOOO many options, it just makes you want to scream bloody murder doesn’t it? Luckily, today I am going to sift through and possibly shed some light on how to choose the right manual therapist.

 Prepare to be edumacated (Author’s Note: I actually Googled that to make sure I had the correct spelling) with today’s edition of “Manual Therapy Knowledge Bomb-Droppage.”

 Knowledge Bomb #1- An office with a plethora (12 point word score for anyone keeping track on the scrabble board) of big, expensive machines does not equal competent manual therapists. As a high school lad, I once ventured into a facility with a luxurious pool, treadmills, and what seemed like every weight lifting machine ever invented. Not going to lie, it was impressive. However, when I finally started working with the therapist for a back injury, he walked me over to the seated back extension machine and had me doing weighted hyperextensions. If that wasn’t bad enough, immediately after he brought me over to back hyperextension machine’s evil twin brother, seated abdominal curl machine. (Author’s note: if you need to take a bathroom break right now to go vomit up your breakfast, please do so) The bottom line is these machines probably did more harm than good for me as I would have been better off dropping trou, and practicing my hip hinge straddle technique while taking a Number 2. (sadly I’m not kidding)

  Honestly, if you said to me, “Justin, I will give you $50,000 for your office right now, but you can only spend the money on weight machines OR I will give you $5,000  and you can only spend it on therabands, foam pads, and physioballs,” I would choose the $5,000 option every single time and twice on Sunday. All in all, a competent, creative therapist will be able to do infinitely more with these low tech options than with big expensive machines and you as the patient will see better, quicker results.

 Knowledge Bomb #2- Make sure your manual therapist addresses individual goals of treatment. If there are any grandmothers out there in blogosphere world reading this (probably not, but whatev’s) your goal might be simply to get out of pain so you can pick up your grandkids again.

This is totally different than someone like Todd whose goal is to have me touch him as many times as possible or bench press 5,345,224 lbs and not have his back hurt while doing so. For most of you out there, you will probably fall more into Todd’s category (the not hurting while benching part, get your mind out of the gutter) because in the end, you want to be able to train as hard as you can without anything getting in the way, especially injury. However, without a goal of treatment, nobody will ever know what to address and what type of home care exercises to give.

 This leads me to…

 Knowledge Bomb #3- Make sure your manual therapist always sends you home with some form of home care exercise/advice. I know, I know we all hate homework but, I also know it helps in the long run. Any manual therapist worth his/her salt realizes that there is only so much they can do with the patient in the office. What the patient does the other 20 something hours/day could make all of the difference. Realize, this doesn’t have to be a redunkulous amount of exercises, it could be something so painfully (pun intended) simple that it’s just plain silly. Story time… If you read my last blog post, you know I recently had back surgery after years and years of pain. In fact, I had been having pain on and off for about 7 years. Throughout that time when I felt particularly awful (like really, really awful) I still managed to work a heavy labor job and not miss any time on the baseball diamond. However, something as simple as trying to get my socks on in the morning was about as much fun as listening to Paris Hilton sing. It got to a point where I had to use one of those garbage picker thing-a-ma-jigs to get sock on foot each morning. Well, fast forward to recent times when I was relaxing in my bed with a tall glass of Manischewitz watching some Stuart McGill DVD’s where he gave instruction on spine sparing strategies while tying your own shoe.








This isn’t earth shattering, Nobel-prize winning shizz here folks. It’s simple. But let me tell you, if I would have known this a while ago, it would have saved me a shit-ton of agony (or at least I could have given back the garbage picker I stole from the local inmates on the side of the highway).

Knowledge Bomb #4- ok for this one let us play a little game… when I graduate Chiropractic school my ‘title’ if you will, might look something like this…

 Justin Rabinowitz DC, ART, CKTP

What do all of those letters stand for? Honestly, if I told you it stood for Distant Cousin, Assisted Reproductive Techniques, and Curiosity Killed The Pony, would it really even matter if you, as a patient, were seeing results? Didn’t think so.

 The bottom line is you could have all of the certifications in the world and still be a horrible practitioner. Don’t get me wrong, I am a HUGE believer in continuing education and advanced training, but it is  NOT the end-all-be-all. As I once told Todd, “I am more concerned with the letters IN my name, not the letters AFTER my name.”

 Finally, if you noticed throughout the article, I did not specify ‘Chiropractor’ or ‘Physical Therapist’, I simply used the word ‘manual therapist’. This was intentional as you might imagine. The reason for this is simple. As I learned early in my education…

 It is not the profession, it is the person in the profession.


Justin Rabinowitz is pursuing a Doctor of Chiropractic degree at New York Chiropractic College (NYCC) and is expected to graduate July 2012. His passion for athletics and training started at an early age and continues to this day as he is currently the Co-president of the Sports Science and Human Performance club at NYCC. As an intern, Justin has had the great opportunity to treat endurance athletes at such events as the Buffalo Subaru 4 Mile Chase and the WoolSports Musselman Triathlon. Additionally, Justin has been selected to present at the 2011 American Chiropractic Association Sports Council Research Poster Presentation Contest. There, he will be presenting “Assessment of the Overhead Throwing Athlete.”


 Prior to enrolling in chiropractic school, Justin captained the Ramapo College baseball team in Mahwah, New Jersey and played 1st base. Additionally, Justin spent the Fall of 2010 season volunteering his time with the Bridgewater-Raritan High School football team, working closely with the Tight Ends and Inside Linebackers.





The following two tabs change content below.
Todd Bumgardner
M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger
Todd Bumgardner

Latest posts by Todd Bumgardner (see all)

Todd Bumgardner
About the author

M.S./ CSCS/ Owner of Beyond Strength Performance/ Ginger

Leave a Reply