SELF CARE STRATEGIES: HOPE & HEALING THROUGH PHYSICAL THERAPY BY JENI GALL, PT, DTP
“I will deal with my shoulder pain after the holidays. Right now, I have too much going on and I am too stressed to make it to my appointments.”
“I can’t go to PT just yet – I have a 10K race coming up in about 4 weeks and I KNOW a PT will tell me I can’t run. I will just continue training, taking Ibuprofen, and icing my (knee, hip, shin splints, ankle…) until after the race.”
“I used to have really bad plantar fasciitis, but then I learned that I do okay as long as I only wear Keens and NEVER go barefoot.”
What is your reason for letting your aches, pains, or limitations keep getting the better of you? What if your daily movement habits have become so ingrained that you can’t see their link to dysfunction? Perhaps it is time to consider consulting with a Physical Therapist who has advanced experience in the healing power of movement.
Three Great Reasons to Work with a PT:
Your low back feels ten times better after your bi-weekly massage therapy appointment. As long as your favorite massage therapist never goes on vacation, moves away, or dies, you will do fine.
If you are getting good results from massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, or Reiki – Congratulations, you are on your way toward healing. Allowing yourself to be cared for and nurtured means you are learning to surrender and seek the guidance of others. By choosing a PT who understands these treatment styles and who can seamlessly blend your “PT homework” with the work of your tried-and-true favorite practitioners, you will be able to take the next step toward long lasting relief.
- Movement feels great; sitting at your computer for hours does not. The problem? You are a tax accountant and this time of year is a true grind – long hours, multiple demands for your attention, and heightened stress have that left hip all fired up. You’ll just have to deal with it in April; others need you now and that hip will probably still hurt when tax season wraps up.No matter what is happening right now, you deserve to feel better. True story. Maybe you know this already, but get caught up in the guilt and find it easier to hide behind the needs of others. (I know this one well because I do it all the time. Breaking habits this ingrained is life-long work!)
And… more than your hip pain is at stake. In the words of local neuroscience expert, Dr. Jill Fancher (http://masteringpainmethod.com),where there is pain there is always inflammation. So, unaddressed pain = chronic inflammation = more pain = more inflammation. According to an excellent online article by Life Extension Magazine (http://www.lef.org/Protocols/Health-Concerns/Chronic-Inflammation/Page-01),chronic, low level inflammation is a major factor in the development of degenerative disease. The ongoing cellular stress and dysfunction associated with inflammation contributes to development of heart disease, cancer, lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and nephritis. In other words, addressing inflammation through stress reduction, proper sleep, sound nutrition, and, yes, finally dealing with that pesky hip will heap benefits on your heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.
- You are a healthcare provider, body worker, or fitness instructor and keep running in to your own aches and pains. That recurring shoulder issue, nagging low back pain, or tension headache is making it difficult to work and you have already done everything you know to do. Frustration is setting in; what is missing from your self-care routine?
Modern neuroscience perspective is unanimous with regards to our daily habits: Our brains are constantly rewiring for efficiency, and our neural circuitry is adapting every day to repeated or sustained movements. In the words of long time physical therapist and my mentor, Gordon Browne, PT, “We are doomed to do what we always do.” (http://www.movementseminars.com/)
When it comes to pain and physical limitations, it is nearly impossible to be objective. No matter how smart or capable we may be as providers, it takes a village. Let us seek each other out and help each other feel better. BONUS: Taking time to learn about your own injuries, limitations, and path to recovery is absolutely vital to advancing your ability to empathize with and help others heal.
A gifted PT will take the time to observe your movement as a whole picture, explore the relevant neurological and musculoskeletal details based on this holistic framework, and create a treatment plan that is totally do-able because it is a true complement to your unique lifestyle.
Are you ready to take that next step? MovePT is a Vancouver physical therapy practice dedicated to educating clients on the little things they can do every day to advance healing, reduce stress, and move in ways that feel better. Dr. Jeni Gall is a Physical Therapist and Orthopedic Movement Specialist with a passion for solving movement puzzles. She works with individuals from infancy through adulthood, and teaches dynamic movement lessons and self-care principles to groups through workplace and community classes.