adventures in physical therapy

Physical therapy was another great unknown to come with my injury. I had zero experience, zero frame of reference and zero expectations for what was to come. Now, PT is part of my everyday life, with twice a week sessions and homework to boot. The goal is to get back to running and my normal, active life.

physical therapy

Physical Therapy Is Uncomfortable

There’s no getting around it. PT is uncomfortable. Patients are working body parts that aren’t functioning properly and it’s hard. They say PT shouldn’t hurt, and I feel that isn’t entirely fair, because there are days when it does. Be honest with your therapist and let him know when things are too much or you’re not entirely on board with an exercise. He may still encourage you to get it done (even if you curse him under your breath), but he is there to support you and make sure you accomplish the moves safely.

Physical Therapy Is A Team Effort

The PT’s job and responsibility is to give her clients the tools to improve. However, only so much can be accomplished in a one hour session. In order to move forward in therapy, you must be consistent and work on exercises at home. It’s time-consuming and a pain in the butt, but it’s also the only way to see improvement. Communicate with your PT and ask about modifications to do things at home in between appointments. While things might not every be 100% better, working with your PT definitely stacks in the odds in your favor.

Not All Physical Therapists Are Created Equal

Since the beginning of my PT journey, I have been treated by three different therapists. I have a clear favorite. We seem to relate well to each other and he speaks to me in a way that resonates. When I’m scheduled with my least favorite, it’s a different experience. Mind you, it’s not necessarily negative, but it definitely lacks some of the light heartedness and feels a bit more like work. Nothing wrong with a change of techniques – despite my personal feelings, as long as we are all on the same page, that’s the important thing.

Physical Therapy Can Be Emotional

While this entire experience has been emotional, physical therapy is just one more venue for all the tears and anger and fear. I show up ready to work, and find myself engaged in exercises that terrify me (balancing on my injured leg, for example), or hearing how my progress isn’t quite where my PT would like it to be. I’ve cried with frustration and disappointment. Rage, disappointment and loss have all played a part in my moods. I struggle, but work hard to keep getting back in the saddle. Forward is a pace and progress is the metric on which I’m focused.

Physical Therapy Isn’t Forever

As he prescribed my PT session, my ortho informed me that when I felt PT had stopped being helpful, it was ok to stop. He said that there will come a point where I can run (figuratively, but hopefully literally, too) with the instructions I received and handle my own strengthening. I think I will make this a joint decision with my PT, to ensure that I don’t risk further injury, but it’s nice to have blessing for that autonomy to choose. My plan is to keep going until I have a therapist-approved running gait down pat.

I am linking up with hosts Coach Debbie Runs and Running on Happy  for the Coaches’ Corner linkup! Head on over to visit them and share the running love.

I am also linking up for Tuesday Topics with KookyRunner and Zenaida.

Please visit these lovely bloggers, plus check out some of the other blogs on the link-up, and don’t forget to share your own post, as well!

Have you ever been to Physical Therapy?

How have your experiences measured up?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

28 Responses to adventures in physical therapy

  1. Rachel says:

    Definitely true that not all PTs are created equal. I’ve had really great PTs, and then not such great ones. And it totally can be emotional. But every appointment gets you one step closer to your goal. Hugs! You’ve got this.

  2. Thank you for being so open with this post! I haven’t been to PT, but I know a lot of people that have. It always requires hard work.

    • runswithpugs says:

      So much work. I always laugh because I show up in gym clothes, and I work up a sweat! Other clients come in jeans or street clothes and I always wonder how they manage it.

  3. I agree that PT is not always comfortable . It’s important to remember that it’t only temporary
    Deborah Brooks recently posted…Booty Building Exercises For RunnersMy Profile

  4. Kim G says:

    Totally agree about all PTs being different. I definitely had a favorite PT – like you mentioned, personalities just click sometimes!

  5. Debbie says:

    Somehow I’ve managed to avoid physical therapy over all my years of running. You’ve been putting in a lot of hard work!
    Debbie recently posted…The Art (and some science) of the Marathon TaperMy Profile

  6. Thankfully. I didn’t need any PT following my knee episode (it was a nasty staph infection and not an injury), though it did require a lot of patience while everything healed. I have had PT in the past, though, for hamstring tendonitis. The hardest part for me was doing the exercises at home…the discipline was way tougher than the work itself LOL

    • runswithpugs says:

      There are days when I feel like all I am doing is exercises. That’s the part I hate. The one PT said I should be doing them 4-6x a day! I’m like, so all day, then? Cool. LOL.

  7. Catrina says:

    Very good information on PT! I’ve had physical therapy for nearly a year now and I think it’s the best thing that happened to me to keep my running going. I’m much more aware of how I move and more alert to pain and listening to my body.
    I’m sure you’ll soon be running again! You’re doing so well!

  8. I am actually doing Physical Therapy right now for my back. I love going because even though it can be hard I always feel better afterwards. I feel lucky to have found a great PT who does a lot of Spinal work, also she is a runner so she gets it!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…I am joy, courage, love, and passion.My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It’s really nice when the PT has a passion for your sport. Sometimes, I feel better and sometimes I come home discouraged at what I can’t do. But that’s just my little personality flaw.

  9. Darlene S. Cardillo says:

    I had two Pt guys. One hurt me more than the other. I chose the one that hurt more. I knew I would get more mobility faster.

    I started 3x a week and the 2 and finally once until they said I was done. Four months. Yikes.

    You are amazing. Can’t believe how far you’ve come.

  10. I have had PT a couple of time, but it was never for major injuries. I totally agree on what a PITA it is to do those exercise — and it can take MONTHs to really see progress — but so worth it.

    I actually like PT, and wish I could do it ever week. 🙂 But like I said, my injuries were relatively mild. That makes a huge difference!

    One day you will definitely realize that it’s not something you need anymore, and that’s going to be an awesome day.

  11. PT is SO hard. I think the toughest part for me is that I want to be progressing at a certain rate and I almost always feel like I *should* be doing more, but you have to do what they tell you at the rate they tell you. I know it feels really difficult, but I think you’re doing great! Sending you positive healing vibes so you can get back to running quicker!

  12. Chaitali says:

    You’re right, it makes sense that PT can be uncomfortable given that you’re working on strengthening muscles that aren’t working properly or have been weakened. I never thought of it that way before. And that’s great that you’ve been able to get something from all of the PTs that you’ve worked with, even if you click better with some than others.
    Chaitali recently posted…Winter Hains Point 5kMy Profile

  13. I’ve been to PT various time but cannot remember the last time I did. After I went to see the doctor about my plantar fasciitis, he gave me an order for PT but I didn’t go. Now I cannot remember why.

  14. CAri says:

    This is a really helpful post. While my first foray into PT (this time last year) as an adult wasn’t for anything as serious as yours, it was eye opening how much of a partnership it was. I think part of the reason PT get the bad rep as not helpful is because people don’t do the homework. Two sessions a week isn’t going to fix it.

    • runswithpugs says:

      I see a lot of people come in who aren’t making progress because they don’t do the work at home. It’s time-consuming and hard and inconvenient, but so necessary and helpful to the end goal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.