In current and modern medicine, advertisements are always touting this new technique, this new drug, this new gadget that will solve all your aches, pains, and ills. Does it? You tell me! I certainly don’t think so and with the surge of new physical therapy patients every day, they don’t either.
I have always said that current medical doctors have 3 main avenues of treatment: One – Medicate; Two – Surgery; Three – Rehabilitation (Physical, Occupational, Speech).
“Evil” number one is Medication. Many a patient who seeks medical help with a pain and/or problem don’t often leave the doctors office knowing what the primary cause is, but, very often leaves with one or more prescriptions for medication. If I don’t know the answer – let me “drug” you so either you don’t care about it anymore (thus leaving me alone) and hopefully in the meantime another expert figures out what is wrong and solves it for you.
Medication as an option is becoming less and less desirable for a few of reasons. One, the side-effects by taking a certain medication seems nearly as bad or if not worse than the original issue. Two, does the medication solve the issue or cover it? We, as society don’t want cover-ups. We want answers, options, a game-plan, and possibility of success for living normally, as much as we can, without the reliance on medications. Finally, some of the medications are addictive and potentially more harmful as times goes on. Just look at the opiod epidemic that is gripping our nation due to this over-prescribing of such medication.
Medication also teaches an individual to be passive in their treatment – aka a passive treatment modality. If an individual is not active participant and have some “skin in the game”, then their is no self-responsibility. This teaches one not to be accountable and responsible for one’s own actions.
“Evil” number two can be Surgery. Surgery at times is a necessary evil. I have had 5 knee surgeries during my illustrious less then stellar amateur athletic career. I had to have surgery. I needed it to “fix” an important torn ligament in my knees, which was successful due to the combination of the surgery & physical therapy.
FYI…Surgery is Permanent! There is no undoing surgery. No matter what they say in the advertisements…what a surgeon can do is NO where close to as good as the body that most of us are born with, genetic defects excluded. Also, surgery, especially exploratory surgery, because we think it is really the only option without exhausting the all other options is poor medical management to say the least.
Something I tell my patients often in the clinic is this paradigm – You are Imperfect! The Surgeon is Imperfect! The Technique is Imperfect! And the Implanted Device (if you need one) is Imperfect! And You Are Expecting Perfection? Perfection of no pain, normal movement, and full return to activities? Good luck with that!
Again, surgery is a passive treatment modality.
And now we arrive to everyone’s favorite “evil”…Rehabilitation! I will be speaking about physical therapy, aka PT, since that is my area of expertise. Yes I have heard all the “evil” renaming of PT: Pain & Torture; Physical Terrorist; etc. But I have come up with my own – Pleasantly Therapeutic! Yes, you are correct. PT isn’t always pleasant but upon achieving your goal, the outcome is pleasant. Remember, I have had 5 knee surgeries. Every time after surgery I had PT afterwards to get me back to where I wanted to be & pain-free: walking, moving, running, jumping, and cycling to name a few. My medical team also used physical therapy to prepare me for surgery as well – prehabilitation. For several years, my surgeon had me do a bout of physical therapy to learn how to exercise in hopes of delaying or preventing surgery. My body didn’t cooperate with me or with my surgeon.
But what physical therapy did for me was invaluable. One, PT helped me learn about my injury. I learned what caused it (bad genetics from my parents) and hopefully reducing further injury in the future. Two, PT helped me learn how to manage my current and possibly future symptoms. It empowered me with knowledge to care for my symptoms. Three, PT educated me on how to manage my injury with modalities (exercise & movement training in my case). Finally, PT educated me, specifically to my situation, if it was getting worse and at what point I need to seek medical assistance.
PT isn’t a passive modality. PT empowers you. Physical therapy requires something of you. You have to have “skin in the game.” You only get out of it what you put into it, for 95% of the time.
So, I am not saying not to use medication or you should never have surgery…I am saying don’t ignore the most powerful treatment modality that has been around since the beginning of time – healing of thyself. And in picking the physical therapy option at the onset, maybe the others two “evils” can be banished away. Until we chat again…
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