As we celebrate the spirit of gratitude this month, we want to take a moment to share an inspiring story of one of our patients (JB) who has experienced the transformative power of physical therapy. In this blog post, we will dive into her personal pain experience and past struggles, followed by her remarkable journey toward healing and how she feels about physical therapy now.
Please enjoy this read and keep in mind that, whether you have had injuries in the past, are currently dealing with an injury, or are trying to avoid injuries in the future, there are options for you.
"I was always body conscious, fit, active in sports, and worked out in the gym. Then one day my life as I knew it changed forever. Twenty years ago, I got out of bed and fell to the floor with severe back pain, unable to walk. I hadn’t been in an accident, nor did I injure myself, it was a complete mystery and a terrible nightmare. "
Despite the hardships she faced, JB refused to let pain define her life. Determined to find a solution, she embarked on a journey to explore various treatment options. In this section, she recounts her encounters with different healthcare professionals.
"This was the beginning of many years of doctors, hospitals, surgeries, pain medications, and a struggle to have any kind of a normal life. Through these years, I’ve had good doctors and not so good, surgeries that were helpful and some not so much. The treatment that was never helpful was Physical Therapy."
JB, like many others, unfortunately experienced what has become all too common in the field of physical therapy - the "mill" approach. In these settings, patients often find themselves being shuttled from one therapist to another, with limited time and attention given to their individual needs. Instead of receiving consistent and personalized care, they are left feeling like just another number in the system. This impersonal approach can be disheartening, as patients may not have the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with their therapist or receive the continuity of care necessary for optimal results. Sadly, this has become the unfortunate norm in some physical therapy practices, where efficiency takes precedence over patient-centered care. This DOES NOT have to be the way.
"About six years ago I heard about a sports medicine doctor who had helped a friend of a friend. If you’re like me, I’m always hopeful when I hear about a doctor or procedure that was helpful and I was willing to try anything. The doctor was helpful in his treatment, but the best thing I got out of his care was his referral for Physical Therapy. At the time I wasn’t thrilled, as you can imagine I’ve had many physical therapy experiences over the years. I have had many surgeries, countless laminectomy’s, a spinal fusion with a rod and three screws, two cages, neck surgery, both hips replaced, two pain control implants, and a torn rotator cuff. Physical therapy treatment always followed, and I hated it. My experience was always the same, a waste of time. I would show up and be placed on some kind of machine, alone, for fifteen minutes. Then I would wait for someone to come back and take me to another area and be given minimal instruction to do some kind of meaningless exercise for another fifteen minutes, alone. Finishing with some other mundane exercise and always with a few other patients all together. I never benefited from these visits, and I usually just gave up after a couple visits."
During my first meeting with JB, I knew she had an incredible work ethic and knowledge about her body. We built a strong rapport quickly and worked together to treat each session as a chance to problem solve, coordinate a plan, and put it into action.
"When I saw Alex for the first time, I was shocked when he sat with me and took my medical history. He had a chart and took notes. He asked me about my pain and medical history, he was truly interested. He began his treatment with a hands-on massage to the areas I was there to see him about. He spent the entire session with me, educating me about helpful exercises, directing my movements, correcting them when needed. I never had a physical therapy session like that. I couldn’t believe how much he was helping me and relieving my pain. He sent me home with exercises that really helped me in between our sessions. I was feeling better, and my pain was getting so much better. I have been seeing Alex now for many years. I could not imagine what kind of shape I would be in if I had never gone to him. His knowledge and constant encouragement have made a huge difference in my life."
Despite the challenges that persist, JB has emerged as a testament to resilience and determination. While she continues to face pain on her journey, she has gained a newfound sense of control over it. No longer defined by her limitations, she embraces an active role in managing her condition. Through her unwavering commitment, she remains dedicated to putting in the effort required to maintain her mobility. JB understands that the road to healing is ongoing, but she faces it head-on with courage and a steadfast commitment to her well-being.
"I still deal with pain because I have an ongoing debilitating condition called spinal stenosis but he has made a huge difference for the better. He has given me so much relief and helped me learn how to take care of myself at home, so I
don’t injure myself. Today I have a better life with less pain and more mobility. I thought my future would be in a wheelchair, but now I know that will not be for me. I am forever grateful to him."
The journey of JB serves as a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of physical therapy. It highlights the significance of finding the right therapist who listens, understands, and provides personalized care. Their story stands as a testament to the profound impact that physical therapy can have on individuals suffering from chronic pain, reminding us that healing and transformation are indeed possible. Be an advocate for yourself and you will find the right people around you to support your journey towards wellness.
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the readers who have taken the time to delve into this story and empathize with JB's journey. To all those who are currently navigating their own health challenges, remember that you are not alone.
Help inspire others by sharing this blog with your friends, family, and anyone who may benefit from JB's empowering journey. Together, we can spread awareness about the importance of finding compassionate healthcare providers and taking an active role in managing our own well-being. Let's ignite a wave of positivity and support, encouraging others to embrace their challenges, regain control, and live life to the fullest.
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-Wellness Tribe Physical Therapy