How a Beginner Is Making Redcord Work
By Dr. Edward Foresman, Physical Therapist at ActivCore in Denver
Getting started with the Redcord system and using it to treat patients has been very exciting. It’s also very intimidating. You have this shiny new tool in the shed, but it can be frustrating to try and figure out the best way to use it.
For example, in the first course, you’re introduced to 36 exercises.
How do you decide which of those exercises will be most appropriate for each patient? How much of each exercise should the patient perform before you re-test to determine if it’s working? How much of a change in the patient is required to validate whether the exercise you’ve chosen is the right one?
Time can be wasted and patient confidence can be lost if you’re doing ineffective exercises and can’t figure out which direction to pursue.
If you’re easily discouraged, you may put the tool aside and stop using it. Just go back to working with the tools and methods you understand well. That can be a very real concern for physical therapists who are first introduced to Redcord.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Apply Pareto’s Law, or the 80-20 Rule
Generally speaking, Pareto’s Law states that 20 percent of your effort is responsible for 80 percent of the result. From the perspective of physical therapy and Redcord, I interpret Pareto’s Law to say that 20 percent of the exercises you perform will likely be responsible for 80 percent of the change imparted on a patient.
As I said earlier, the very first Redcord course explains 36 exercises. That can be overwhelming, especially when you’re using a brand new tool to perform these exercises.
I recommend identifying and mastering the seven or eight exercises – 20 percent of 36 – that you will rely upon most often before diving into the rest of the exercises. Of course, you eventually have to learn all of them, but start by applying Pareto’s Law to keep things simple.
Focus on Targets, not Goals
For me, this has helped with the psychological component of both integrating a new treatment method and adapting my business model.
When it comes to goals, you either achieve them or you don’t. Achieve them and you succeed. Anything else is failure. To me, that seems a bit harsh and even unfair.
When it comes to a target, you have something you’re shooting for. It may take a while to hit your target, but as long as you continue to move closer to the target, you should consider each of those movements a success.
For example, I’ve established a target of 50 percent improvement in the patient’s motion, mobility or pain after doing an exercise and retesting the patient. I don’t expect to hit 50 percent right out of the gates, but I expect to move closer and closer to that target.
Pursue the New
As an experienced therapist with plenty of other tools in the shed, I have plenty of reasons to avoid using Redcord. But leaving Redcord in the shed won’t help me improve my practice and make it more profitable.
I look for ways to incorporate Redcord into every session. I push myself out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory so the uncharted territory becomes part of my comfort zone.
I’m very transparent and open with patients. I’ll tell them that I’d like to try this treatment method. I’m still learning this method. It’s out-of-network. But no other therapists in the area offer Redcord and I’m confident that it can help. Across the board, patients have been enthusiastic about trying something new.
If you pursue the new as a physical therapist, so will your patients.
Why This Approach Is Working for Me
I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m still a relative beginner – but an effective beginner – when it comes to Redcord. Of course, that means I’m a lot closer to being in the same boat as you than a Redcord expert.
My approach has helped me overcome the perceived complexity of Redcord by simplifying things. It gave me direction. It helped me clarify what I’m working towards and how to determine if I’m making progress. It helped me recognize patterns with my patients so I can produce change and hit targets quickly.
Ultimately, when patients experience Redcord and feel better, it’s easy for you as the physical therapist – and your patients – to buy into the Redcord system.
Dr. Ed Foresman is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), board certified orthopedic physical therapist (OCS), and published author at ActivCore in Denver who specializes in the treatment of runners, triathletes, and other performance athletes of all ages. He is specially trained in the SFMA, Dry Needling, Redcord NEURAC method, and manual therapy techniques. Dr. Ed Foresman can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org