October 23, 2018
People ask me: what is your specialty? I chuckle and reply: “I take time to problem solve, ask questions and provide what is needed.”
Example: 3 months ago, a patient called me. She had fractured the upper part of her humerus (upper arm) and had just been discharged from a PT and her MD agreed she was ready for discontinuing PT as well. But this gal didn’t think so; she still had some vague and uncomfortable symptoms in her arm that neither professional adequately explained to her what it was.
So, afraid she would re-injure herself, afraid of what these uncomfortable symptoms were, she sought help elsewhere, and found me. We initially talked on the phone, and agreed upon a consultation/evaluation. During the initial evaluation, I concluded that while her arm was healed (the bone was solid and the tendons were solid), her function was still lagging behind, and explained what was probably causing the sensations she didn’t understand and feared; most likely restriction of fascia, scarring, muscle tightness with weakness, and faulty motor coordination during tasks.
I explained what I could do to help and what her role in the process would be. We discussed her goals and she agreed to the plan.
What was this plan? I performed soft tissue mobilization, and taught her how to do it herself. I taught her to recognize the faulty motor programs she had incorporated unknowingly, and showed her how to correct them. I taught her how to work on her strengthening, building on what her previous therapist had correctly prescribed. Finally, I helped interpret what her body was saying in the “uncomfortable messages” it was giving as she moved and exercised. In summary, I helped her understand how healing felt and not to fear it, but to embrace it and guide it.
We worked together for 3-4 weeks, and then I went on vacation for 2 weeks. When I returned, she was fine: happy, confidant and ready to be discharged. She exuded the confidence I believe is necessary for all patients to have if they are to succeed.
She in turn gifted me with her gracious words: “You gave me hope. You encouraged me. You taught me how to be independent in my care and not be afraid anymore.”
What is my specialty? How do you put that into words? I take time with you. I ask questions and problem solve. I teach. I’d like to say that I empower, encourage and somehow enlighten my patients in regards to their health and well being.