Upgrade Your Physical Therapy Experience
By Stacy Apple
Physical therapy is a crucial step in the treatment and recovery of a variety of diseases and medical procedures. It has roots going as far back as 460 BC, when it’s believed physicians like Hippocrates advocated massage and hydrotherapy treatments for their patients. In the eighteenth century, a breakthrough was introduced to the Orthopedic community when the Gymnasticon, similar to a stationary bicycle, was developed and paved the way for modern physical therapy treatments.
It has grown leaps and bounds since the days of Hippocrates and the Gymnasticon, but the foundation of physical therapy remains unwavering. Physical therapists seek to treat pain, disease, or injury by physical means, without drugs or surgery. “Every diagnosis is unique, but there are many patients who successfully avoid surgery by strengthening muscles, increasing flexibility, and improving joint health with exercise,” says Cindy Murray, Director of Rehabilitation at OrthoTexas’ Plano, Frisco and Dr. Pepper Starscenter locations. Many physical therapists even offer preventative screenings to identify high-risk individuals in specific sports and general fitness populations. Once areas of concern are identified, they can provide exercise recommendations to decrease the risk of injury.
Although preventative maintenance works well, sometimes an injury can’t be avoided. When an injury requires surgery, many patients can improve their recovery time with pre-operative therapy. “Physical therapists deal with movement dysfunction, so we’re addressing inflamed and injured areas, which are usually quite painful,” explains Michael Cox, Director of Rehabilitation at Ortho Texas’ Carrolton location. “Many patients haven't been moving the injured body part because of the pain, or per instruction from their doctor. This lack of movement causes increased stiffness, and pain with movement.” Pre-operative therapy can help enhance your body’s recovery process by improving the health of the affected area, before the stress of surgery is incurred. Once a patient enters therapy, whether its preventative, or post operation, they should look to their physical therapist for a plan. “Since we can’t cure the human body overnight,” Murray clarifies, “it’s our job to help patients understand the recovery process, so they have clear expectations.”
When patients undergo surgery, they place their trust and expectations in the hands of their surgeon. At OrthoTexas, the doctor-patient relationship doesn’t end when physical therapy begins. The patient journey at OrthoTexas is a unique one, because by housing the physical therapy clinics, doctors and therapists are able to work hand-in-hand to give their patients a cohesive recovery plan. Murray and Cox specialize in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, and have spent over 30 cumulative years rehabilitating patients at OrthoTexas’ owned and operated physical therapy clinics. “Communication is a necessity to an effective rehabilitation experience,” Cox explains. “For example, if a problem or question arises during therapy, we can seamlessly contact the patient's physician for a consultation; ensuring there is no time lost in the recovery process,” adds Murray.
Whether you choose to begin your journey to recovery with a seasoned OrthoTexas physical therapist, or you choose another clinic, its important to keep a few things in mind. “The patient needs to remember they play a major role in their recovery,” reminds Murray. Staying motivated to reach your goals and improve your condition is key. Compliance with activity modification and home exercise programs will ensure you are successful with your therapy. “Above all,” says Cox, “stay positive.” People who are positive tend to recover much more quickly than those who focus solely on their pain.