Do you wonder if physical therapy is personally helpful?
As a health care worker who has been in the industry for decades, I have regularly decided what works for me and what does not, regardless of actual medical advice I have received. (Sound familiar? Anyone?) I have family members who are also lifetime healthcare providers, one of them who spent years in the rehabilitation environment working with patients who needed injury and surgery post-operative care.
Working with people who have needed total knee replacements, had spinal cord injuries or hip replacements, needed stroke rehabilitation, as well as a host of other problems people have faced are part of my personal history.
That said, when I had a shoulder movement and pain issue, it took weeks until I went to a physical therapy for diagnosis and treatment. (Health care people are the WORST, just ask them.)
Once I did, my physical therapist explained how I might recover my function…and eliminate the pain I had. Here’s the thing: this treatment plan was based on MY participation. That’s right…physical therapy isn’t done TO you, it’s done with you.
Anyone who has had physical therapy recommended or who has considered it for a nagging, painful condition or injury really needs to follow up. There’s a reason it’s a compellingly good idea.
So many people in my life have, historically, turned to pain meds or surgery to correct a problem. However, I have seen first-hand what happens when PT is ignored or dismissed in favor of other interventions. For one thing, over time, the pain meds just don’t work anymore…and opiates come with their own host of problems. In that same vein, surgery can work, but as a first resort, can also have its own medical baggage. Typically any surgery also requires post-surgical rehabilitation.
So, really, if you’re ultimately going to need PT after surgery, unless there is a compelling medical reason not to do so, why not give it a chance?
I write this as a sincere call to action for all of you (yes, you) who have spent time on the fence trying to decide if physical therapy is worth the hassle. The very least you can expect from us is a professional, compassionate assessment of your issue from experienced doctors of physical therapy who may very well have the tools to help you minimize your pain and maximize your function. At best, you will become able to move freely, with less pain, for a longer period of time than pain medication can promise you…and possibly avoid or postpone a major surgery.
Each week, I hope to bring you information and stories that will underscore what I have said here. Since physical therapy is interactive, and that is what we are talking about here, please tell me what you want to learn more about or have questions about in the comments section and I will do my best to address them.