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Hypocritical Physical Therapist?

As is customary with most (I hope) Physical Therapists, I always try to educate patients and provide them with information to maximize their potential outcomes. Basic information is provided in reference to their condition, and what they can expect for treatment progression. Strategies for avoiding pain provocation and maximizing relief are discussed. Patients are always provided with a home exercise program with written or video references.

As a frequent “stalker” of people who are smarter than I am on Twitter and Facebook, I have expanded some of the topics I touch upon. They have positively influenced the way I approach patient care. While there are over a hundred professionals I follow on Twitter, and a few dozen that I follow on Facebook, there are a few that consistently provide quality information. I will provide some links at the end of this post.

Now,if you have followed this blog at all, you already know that I had surgery to reconstruct my ACL last October. You are also aware that my recovery was slower than normal and that I continue to have some lingering issues. I believe that the major contributing factor is that I AM A BAD PATIENT…

I came back to work earlier than I should have. This resulted in a lot of swelling, which limited my range of motion and impaired healing. Also, I did not follow the instructions of my Physical Therapist. I did some of my home exercises, but not as many as I was instructed to. I would get busy and say to myself, “I will do them in a few minutes”…then I would promptly forget.

The worst part is I also did not follow some of my own advice; the same advice I give to patients. I know that diet can influence the healing process, and mine has been sketchy at best. My wife helped to keep me in line, but I was eager to grab junk food whenever I could sneak it. Alcohol consumption has also been shown to impair the healing process and interfere with muscle growth. For me, this was another Achilles Heel. 

I now realize that I need to do a better job taking care of myself; for my own sake and to set a better example. I can cheat on healthy eating as an occasional treat, but it should not be a daily habit. I need to resume meditating (Transcendental Meditation)as a means of stress relief instead of having a few drinks. I also need to make sure I am getting enough sleep. All of these things will help me to be more productive and respond better to exercise. (By the way, I am following my PT’s advice more closely – I am stretching several times a day, doing corrective exercises, and running.)

For health care providers: do you provide your patients with information about general well being and how it relates to healing? Do you set a good example?

For patients: What are you willing to do to get better? There is no magic pill or easy way out. YOU need to take responsibility for your health and recovery. Your Physical Therapist (and other healthcare providers) can guide you through the recovery process but your health is YOUR responsibility.

Now for the links I mentioned earlier: For information about nutrition as it relates to rehab, dry needling and other great topics, Ann Wendel is a great resource on Twitter at @PranaPT or on her website at Prana-PT.com. For information about modern pain science, you can check out @JoeBrence9 and @Noigroup on Twitter or online at Body in Mind. I get daily information on a wide variety of topics from Erson Religioso on Twitter @The_OMPT, here on Facebook, or online at The Manual Therapist.

Now that I am getting my act together, I am looking forward to feeling better and performing better!

What can you do to improve?

John

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