If you’re in pain, chronic or acute, physical therapy is what you’re looking for. Through a thorough evaluation process, a physical therapist can diagnose musculoskeletal dysfunction better than any other medical professional. By defining impairments, a physical therapist can specifically treat the cause of pain and/or functional limitations through manual therapy and therapeutic exercise.
As an orthopedic certified specialist, I do my best to isolate the exact cause of an individual’s pain. Sure, we could all use some mobility and strength throughout our entire body but each person has a starting point to their dysfunction. I refer to this as the sniper approach versus the shot gun approach in that I choose to specifically target the exact cause instead of globally treating all impairments in order to reduce pain, improve function and prevent reoccurrence efficiently and effectively.
I consider myself a manual therapist but it’s through a home exercise program and patient education that permanent changes are made. I am able to learn more about each person’s dysfunction through touch. I am able to confirm theories and provide immediate pain relief through hands on treatment. However, it is the patient’s responsibility to do their home exercise program to not only keep the gains made within a session but improve on their own between sessions. Together, the patient and I can truly fix the problem instead of manage it. I enjoy the relationships built with my patients but my business model is to have patients come in and out of my gym, not keep coming back.
Over the years I have treated a wide variety of diagnoses throughout the entire body. I’ve treated pain isolated to a particular joint and diffuse pain throughout multiple joints or even the whole body. I have treated muscle pain, nerve pain, joint pain, pelvic pain, headaches, numbness and weird sensations that people have a hard time putting words to. I have treated work injuries, sport injuries, pain that has come on over time and pain that people have just woke up with. I’ve helped mamas with pain and dysfunction during pregnancy, just after pregnancy and mamas with 20 year old “children”. I work with acute pain, post surgical pain, chronic pain and acute flare ups of chronic pain. I treat people of all ages, of all activity levels and of all body types. The diversity of what I see and who I see keeps me on my toes, engaged, challenged and interested every single day.
Lately I have found that some of my patients with chronic pain will get 50-75% better and then reach a plateau. I continue to see these individuals in order to maintain a level of comfort and function in their day to day but it has made me ask the question of, “what am I missing”? I have started to research the effects of sleep, diet, stress and hormones on chronic pain. I have also read several books and articles on pain science to better understand how to get this patient population beyond the plateau. I have always aimed to treat the person as a whole rather than just a joint but I’m realizing its bigger than just looking at their entire body. Pain is connected to the way we eat, the way we sleep, the way we move, the way we feel and the way we live. My next step is a certification in functional medicine. I believe this is where that plateau can be overcome.
For more on the role of a PT as defined by the APTA, click here