Tag Archives: physical therapy

Physical Therapy: The Medicine that Cures

When people are injured, it’s important to as soon as possible restore function and movement to some reasonable form.

Everyone is eager to get back to their life, job or recreational activities, but the pain of injury is difficult, disruptive and discouraging to one’s normal activities. And the longer the injury drags out, the more likely depression will ensue.

The ticket to success in overcoming an injury is early mobilization. But this has to be done within reason, with patience and with an understanding of the body mechanics relevant to the injured body part.

The plan tailored to the injury and level of conditioning is the physical therapy. It remains the cornerstone of recovery and preventing further injury. Coaching by a physical therapist is critical to planning the recovery and doing no further harm. A good plan and continued mentoring by the therapist will ensure a speedy recovery.

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The basics of therapy during the initial acute phase are well known: rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). Early mobilization of the injured part within reason, as well as the rest of the body, is beneficial. It continues to maintain muscle tone, which starts to atrophy after 24 hours of inactivity. The additional weakness and stiffness needs to be minimized rather than creating an additional liability. Essentially, increased circulation helps promote healing.

Convalescence from a significant injury is often frustrating and has its ups and downs. During the recovery phase, it’s key to remain within certain boundaries to avoid over-training.

Nonetheless, several variables have to be monitored by a physical therapist and your healthcare provider to stay on course. Recapturing strength, endurance and range of motion are the goals for recovery. Although some common patterns emerge for certain injuries, we are all individuals who bring different considerations to the challenge. We often think of these as baby steps to recovery.

When the pain of the acute phase subsides, typically there is weakness that remains. Getting back to a functional level of activity can take more time than you wish. Listening to your body is important. Also, using the expertise of the physical therapist and maintaining an open dialogue with the therapist will get you to your goals as soon as possible.

Remember, it does take time to regain your normal level of endurance. Along the way, learning the best body mechanics for your activities, and getting and maintaining a level of strength suitable for the job are critical to getting better and staying that way. Physical therapy is the medicine that cures.

– Dr. Bruce Kaler

Letter from a U.S. HealthWorks Patient

The following is an unsolicited letter written by a patient to one of our Southern California clinics.

I just wanted to write a note to thank you for providing some of the best doctors I have known. I came to you as a workers’ compensation case, and to be honest I was a little worried about the care I would get because of that.

The first few months was trying to just stabilize my back injury without much progression, and after a few months I landed in Dr. Wood’s care – wow, what a difference!

Sadly I have had to challenge his limits as everything we were trying from chiropractic, physical therapy and epidural treatments weren’t quite delivering the relief I needed. You should first know I am extremely fearful of needles. I am still quite amazed I allowed the epidural treatment to happen, but I knew I was in good hands. In fact, I can remember telling Dr. Wood on a re-check after the epidural, “You said I would be OK, and not only was I OK, but I’m pain free (which I was for 6 months). I’m pretty sure that’s the only time a man has told me the truth.” That was said sarcastically, of course.

As I mentioned, the epidural treatment didn’t last as long as we hoped, and I hate taking medications. I don’t want to do anything invasive as long as I don’t have to. Dr. Wood suggested I try acupuncture. Voodoo acupuncture?! I was pretty skeptical of acupuncture. I’d never had it, and I didn’t even know how it worked. I reminded Dr. Wood of my fear of needles, to which he said “The good news is it’s in your back, so you won’t see it. The bad news is it IS needles, however, not invasive and something we can do indefinitely unlike epidurals.” Again, I trust him.

I began seeing Dr. Arman, and I have to admit the first 3 or 4 appointments weren’t great for me. I came out of there feeling worse than when I went it, limping out of there at times. I liked Dr. Arman enough to give him one last try before calling it quits. On my fifth visit, he took the time to try and figure out why was happening. In my case, the commonalities of the “extras,” such as the infrared, the electric stimulator and heat, were something that had been applied during PT and chiropractic, which he had also been trying. He decided to try straight up acupuncture and voila! Magic! It was that simple. The last few treatments I hopped off the table, rather than not slid, stood up straight, not hunched, walked one foot in front of the other, not dragging. I think Dr. Arman is a fantastic doctor and person. I think he truly cares for his patients. He took the time to figure out why the acupuncture wasn’t working for me and adjusted it. He was willing to adjust the “norm” to get it to work for me, and it did!

I just wanted to let you know, you have TWO great doctors located in your facility. Professionally, they are outstanding. Personally, they have great attitudes, and I guess it was lucky for me that I found them. I hope they will continue in your establishment, and I hope they, in the very near future, won’t be seeing me any longer as they have finally been able to get me on the path of standing up straight, walking without a limp, disconnecting from my heat pad and feeling great. They are amazing!

Not that I won’t miss them and know that if needed, they will be there, but I am looking forward to pain free days of not seeing doctors as often as I do.

I can’t thank them enough for working with me, not over me, for listening to me, for believing me and working so hard to get me out of constant agitating pain. The time I wait for Dr. Wood has drastically improved. The time I wait for Dr. Arman has always been great. Additionally, your facility is clean, the staff is pleasant including Dr. Wood’s assistant. She is wonderful about always getting me any assistance I need. She is friendly and always smiling.

I spend enough time at your facility to know if it’s just a fluke or if they are just genuinely great people – and they are.

Keep up the great work!

Keralea Pratt