Written by: Michaella Merritt, PT, DPT
Imagine taking a walk along the beach, feeling your toes sink into the sand as the ocean waves crash at your feet and the warmth of the sun bathes your face with the happiness of summer. Or the freedom of throwing your hands in the air with the wind racing past your ears while riding your favorite attractions. What about trekking that hike, riding that bike, taking that trip, or even the simple joy of seeing the twinkle in young eyes as you bend to pick up your daughter, grandson, niece, or friend? Were any of these activities difficult for you to picture doing without fear, anxiety, or worry about if it would cause you pain? Let’s fix that.
As movement experts, our goal as Physical Therapists includes empowering you to have the strength and confidence to live your life without fear of pain. It is easy for us to become overwhelmed when even everyday tasks such as putting the dishes away on the top shelf, reaching behind your back to tuck a shirt into your pants, lifting a full laundry basket, or taking care of your children become daunting due to pain. What is even more difficult is understanding pain. Pain is supposed to be our body’s natural protective mechanism to help us recognize when we are doing something that is potentially “dangerous.” This is a good thing in instances where we nonchalantly place our hand on a hot stove and signals tell our body to jerk our hand away to avoid being burned, or like when we get out of surgery and our tissues are trying to heal so there is pain when we move beyond limits that stress the healing structures; however, when we seem to have pain in the absence of any physical threat, or when the initial event has passed and the physical threat is gone, our alarm system can become sensitized to these signals and set off the smoke detectors prematurely. This doesn’t mean that your pain isn’t real, because it is! It just means that we need to figure out why we are having pain, help you interpret your pain, and provide you with strategies to help your body recover and prevent pain or injury in the future. That is where our job as Physical Therapists comes into play.
Through thorough evaluation and assessment, we can help formulate a personalized approach to address your specific complaints and limitations. Is there an unidentified weakness that is causing poor movement patterns and excess strain on muscles and joints? Are there malalignments contributing to dysfunction with movement? Have years of poor posture started to show their effect? Each patient has their own unique puzzle they present with, and it takes collaboration from the patient and therapist to identify the missing pieces. We want to see you out the door as quickly as you came in, so this partnership is critical for your success. With determination, confidence, and a comprehensive home exercise program, we will give you all the tools you need to not just live your life, but enjoy your life.
You do not have to live in pain. The activities you used to love can be ones you continue to love. Let us help you by listening to your concerns, acknowledging where you are, and push you to grow beyond what you thought was possible so you can truly live life better.