October is physical therapy month. As someone with chronic inflammation, I am no stranger to physical therapy. If I had one wish, barring the obvious wish for complete and total health, it would be the wish that all of my health care professionals were as caring, friendly, knowledgeable of their field, and as open to possibilities as the physical therapy team at In Shape Physical Therapy & Wellness Center.
Quick backstory… I was referred to PT last fall when an orthopedist misdiagnosed my shoulder/back pain as a rotator cuff injury. He took 6 x-rays he did not look at, he did not ask me to move my shoulder, nor did he touch my back/shoulder in any way. All he did was stand across the room, ask me what I’m doing when it hurts, and ask ME how I wanted HIM to fix it. I sheepishly said I had no idea, but remarked that the cortisone shot he gave me for my bursitis in my hip seemed to help. As a move that clearly read, “I just want to shut you up and get you out of my office so I can move onto another paying customer,” he said, “ Well, let’s put some cortisone in your shoulder and see what that does.” I walked out of there feeling confused, bullied, disappointed, and extremely disgusted. I even remarked to the receptionist that if I knew what to do to make my back stop hurting, I wouldn’t need a doctor with a medical degree. I reluctantly paid, cancelled my follow-up appointment, and left.
The only thing that made this situation even remotely OK was the fact that on the way out the door, “Dr. McG” wrote me a referral for physical therapy. This got me to the right people. My orthopedist was just an expensive doorway I had to go through to end up where I needed to be.
Within 2 minutes of my evaluation appointment, it was determined that nothing was wrong with my rotator cuff and then my therapist began unraveling the mystery of my back/shoulder pain. I continue to see Shelley, Cathy, MT, and the rest of their wonderful team whenever my hips, back, neck, and shoulders flair up. I couldn’t be happier with the care I receive and as an added bonus, their entire staff is nice. :)
In honor of Physical Therapy Month, here are some Tips for getting the most from your PT appointments:
1. Be honest with your physical therapist. If you have fallen, tell them you have fallen. If you sit around all day on the couch and do nothing, tell them. If something they are doing puts you in more pain, tell them. Don’t try to put on a front. Don’t try to minimize your pain and on the flip side, don’t try to get extra sympathy by making things sound worse than they are. Be totally honest. Help them, help you.
2. Do your homework. If they tell you to do certain exercises at home… DO THEM! This is one thing you are paying them for and one thing that will help heal you. If you don’t do them at home, refer to #1. Be honest and tell them so they aren’t perplexed as to why you aren’t getting better. Help them, help you.
3. Remember that “a body in motion, stays in motion.” Unless you are an extreme case that needs to be treated a little differently, you probably don’t see your PT all the time. There is a lot of time in between visits when they aren’t at home with you. YOU are the only one who can really help yourself outside of their office. Unless you’ve been explicitly told not to move something…KEEP MOVING. The worst thing you can do is undo what they’ve done by doing nothing. (I know someone right now who had knee surgery, she didn’t move, she did nothing, and now… she’s going in for another surgery. Endless cycle.)
Help them, help you.
(And if you live in South Carolina, check out In Shape Physical Therapy & Wellness Center. They’re the best. ) ♥