The Physical Therapist’s Role as a Nutritionist

Physical Therapist as a NutritionistThe goal for every Physical Therapist is to successfully improve patient movement and manage, reduce, or eliminate pain. Equally important is the role that PT’s play in preventing re-injury/recurrence of illness, and in managing chronic conditions. Every rehab plan should include an evaluation of the client’s medical history and lifestyle – particularly their nutritional habits.   Diet imbalances are known to contribute to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and osteoporosis, as well as various aggravating inflammations….those “itises” that many patients experience…arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, etc.   Store shelves and medicine cabinets are full of prescription and OTC options which relieve pain but can have serious side-effects, especially gastrointestinal ones.  There is growing evidence that a diet based on a 1:1 ratio between the Omega 3s and Omega 6s we consume, will significantly reduce the incidence of such inflammations.

“Western” diets tend to be Omega 6 heavy, by way of processed foods and saturated fats.   Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Nicholas Perricone have been leading the charge for change, but the idea that foods have rehabilitative qualities dates back to ancient healers.  In general, all versions of this nutritional lifestyle adhere to principles found in the culinary habits of Mediterranean cultures, including “The Omega Diet”, based on Cretan eating habits.  The top foods to include in any anti-inflammatory diet are:

  • wild Alaskan salmon
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • shiitake (and other Asian) mushrooms
  • broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower
  • sweet potato
  • blueberries, cherries, papaya
  • tumeric, ginger and garlic
  • green tea

Sounds yummy!  Go ahead and embrace your role as preventive care experts, as well as professional rehabilitators, and change your patients’ lives in a meaningful way!  Centra can help you expand your patient impact by placing you in the right venue.  Call us at 800 535 0076 and let us put you in the right PT position.

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