For the umpteenth time I listened to a physical therapy tale of woe. Just last week I heard the story again. With variations on body part, it pretty much goes something like this:
“My shoulder started aching a year ago. The doc prescribed an anti-inflammatory that helped some, but after three months, when I stopped taking it, the shoulder just kept getting worse. It got to where I couldn’t even lift a carton of milk into the fridge. So the doc prescribed physical therapy. The therapist gave me some rubber tubing and an exercise list to strengthen the shoulder weakness. And he showed me how to crawl my fingers up the wall to loosen the stiffness. I stopped going after four times because when I did the exercises it made my shoulder worse. I am literally at my rope’s end with this shoulder.”
If you have had a less than optimal experience in the hands of a physical therapist…well, you are not alone. I hear this story time and again. It breaks my heart. Because I know what is possible. When I probe a little deeper, I often hear that the doctor never physically touched the patient. And even more shocking, the therapist was pretty hands off as well. Physical. Therapy. The name is so indicative. How did we arrive in this sorry state of affairs?
Just a bit of historical perspective. With a final three months of internship in three different practice settings, I graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy. That stint of clinical training, mentored by the best, filled with literally hundreds of patients…well, that’s where the book learning integrated with reality. Hands on. Face to face. There is no substitute. I was “grandfathered” in the early 90’s when Master’s level became the educational requirement. Shortly after that it upped to Doctorate. That’s a lot of additional years and the bulk of that extra education shifted to research. Evidence-based treatment became the buzz word. So important. Sorely needed. And conducting research trials and writing dissertations is one way to evidence-base your work.
There’s another way evidence-based treatment emerges: hands on, face to face. I’m owning this personal bias. And maybe what follows is purely coincidence. But I began to hear the dissatisfaction stories around the time I opened Dreizler Physical Therapy in 1990. And man did I hear these stories. Because we became known in town as a kind of “last resort” clinic. Not sure why. But we had an awesome group of clinicians. Not a one with a Masters. And we provided the best of individualized hands on physical therapy. I’m proud of the work we did there for fifteen years. And grateful that since then I’ve fashioned a way to follow my bliss with integrity. Evidence-based. Hands on. Face to face.
I’ve been honing how to make this information accessible for years and I’m excited to turn you on via Tune Up: best physical therapy practices Hands on. Face to face. Your human body is a miracle in motion. Until it’s not. Injuries, genetics, habitual ways we sit, stand, work, sleep….life creates challenges. And these troubles compound as the years accumulate. This is the norm. Neck and shoulder, back and hip, knees and feet share very common and often easily treatable patterns of pain and dysfunction. In these 3 upcoming Saturdays at Yoga Shala you can join me for a self-empowering series or drop in to any single session.
BYO rollers and balls and/or I’ll have some available for trial/purchase. Here’s how it will roll from 12:00-2:00:
- April 22 Foam Rolling: Release fascia in neck, shoulder, back, hip, legs. Introduction to core power. Stretch out tight lower body muscles.
- April 29 Ball Rolling: Quick review foam rolling. Fascia release with soft balls and double tennis balls. Focus on release, tone, length, asymmetry of central psoas.
- May 6 Tune Up: Foam roller and massage ball techniques to create a body loose, long and strong. Special focus on releases for ankle/foot challenges.
To capture a flavor of how this rolls join me for a one-off Sunday morning April 23. Sweat Your Prayers begins at 10:00 but I’ll be ready for you at 9:30. Music playing, balls and rollers out there at Clara. Me? Just offering up whatever you want, whatever feels needed before we get up on those precious feet and start moving.
Because your human body is a miracle in motion. Until it’s not. I’m all about supporting you in that moment. ❤️Bella