I’m going to say something radical…
What we don’t do for people is FIX PAIN. (Please stay with me and don’t click away just yet!)
To say that and another way, fixing pain is not the BEST THING that we can do for you. Why?! Because if you really want pain relief you would go to the doctor’s office or visit your local pharmacy. (I daresay you’ve probably already tried painkillers and it hasn’t worked or hasn’t had a lasting effect so that you could stop taking the painkillers…)
There is a misconception out there about what a physical therapist actually does. We’re not here to help you with pain relief. That is something we will take care of but it's not the number one most important thing that we’ll be able to do for you.
"What we do is in the first few sessions of working with you is try to get rid of the pain so we can start to actually fix the problem."
Pain is not the problem. Pain is the symptom or indicator that something is wrong. One of the mistakes a lot of people make when they go to see a physical therapist is that they think it’s all about pain, and at the first sign of the pain going away they think that the problem is fixed. This is one of the main reasons people end up back in physical therapy time and time again.
During a Physical Therapy Evaluation we come up with a plan, and it’s completely up to you to decide whether or not it’s right for you, but ultimately the plan will not be about easing pain…that’s usually something we can accomplish within the first few sessions. The plan is to give you the best possible shot at remaining active and involved in the workouts and sporting activities you love…without painkillers, injections, or multiple trips to the doctor’s office. What we have to do is get to the bottom of why that pain is happening in the first place.
If you can let us do that, and you can agree to the plan that we will set up for you, then you’re going to have the best possible shot at living an active lifestyle free from painkillers and injections.
If all we do is fix the pain, the main cause of the problem will still be there. You can go to a pharmacy and get some pills if that’s what you want, but you’re still going to have a problem in your joints, your muscles are going to be stiff and tight, so what we’re going to do, (which is completely different from most physical therapy clinics, is to get to the source of the problem so that you don’t have to see us or your doctor over and over again.
So there you have it. The Most Common Mistake People Make When Coming To Physical Therapy is that they STOP GOING to Physical Therapy after the pain disappears. The pain going away is STEP 1 in the process of getting you back to the activities you love. STEP 2 is to fix the main problem that caused your pain in the first place.
Next time you find yourself in need of Physical Therapy, don't forget STEP 2!
Info to help you move better, feel better, get back to the workouts and sports you love...and lots of other things...
Dr. Christine Walker
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