What Is a Physical Therapist?
My job is to know how the body moves normally and how the body changes with age, injury, disease and dysfunction and return it to its most ideal state. I love being a Physical Therapist! My primary job is to return people to their previous activity level. How rewarding, helping someone achieve their physical goals and return them to what they love to do! Of course it’s not always easy and it involves work, but mostly for my clients, in the form of exercise. Through watching someone walk (gait analysis), run, squat, lunge and balance I can observe where there are strengths, weaknesses and deficits in movement patterns.
Pain and Injury
Pain changes quality of life. Pain creates movement dysfunctions and compensations to avoid it. Weakness can lead to pain and can put the body at risk for injury. Some injuries are unavoidable; however some injuries are a result of overuse. Overuse injuries are a result of an area of the body being stressed at levels beyond which it can repair itself. Over half of overuse injuries are preventable. Initial management of an injury can make a big difference in how fast you are able to return to your previous activity level. A physical therapist can help evaluate the severity and stage of your injury and whether or not you require a referral to another medical professional.
Good and Bad “Pain”
Some pains may be unavoidable, but most are not. Many people assume that they will have a certain level of discomfort or pain and tolerate it. “No pain, no gain” is an old school motto that creates a lot of injuries. There are good aches and pains such as muscle soreness after a workout and there are bad pains, warning your body of overdoing it. Part of my job is teaching patients how to listen to their body and know the type of pains that are acceptable and the difference between bad pain and good. Although pain may occur in a specific joint, most often it is other areas of the body not doing their job (imbalance) that causes chronic pain.
If an old knee injury continues to bother you, it may be more related to weakness in the hips and poor foot mechanics then the actual knee itself. Pain in the Achilles, foot or knee can also be related to an old ankle sprain that was never fully rehabilitated. Low back pain may be a result of a weak and tight leg muscles especially the hips and hamstrings, that don’t allow your back to maintain good position nor support it. Do yourself a favor and give physical therapy a try. Call 509-458-7686 to schedule an appointment at any of our three locations. You might find new strength in areas you never knew were weak.