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The Patient/ PT Team #2

By Rebecca Lowe August 3, 2015

JC and RL 3

I have to brag about a patient.  He came to me a few months ago with neck and shoulder pain.  His neck pain cleared up fairly quickly and he has learned AND PERFORMS the techniques that help keep his spine moving and feeling better.  That is something to be proud of.  How many of us know what to do AND DO IT?

JC and RL 2

His shoulder has been a different story.  He would get temporary relief, but the pain would come back and he was not able to keep it better.  Originally, I had found a tightness and jamming of his shoulder into a forward and upward position.  We would work, through joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization, combined with small active movements to loosen it up.  And then his range of motion problem and pain were alleviated or almost alleviated, BUT IT DIDN’T LAST.

So, I evaluated further and I found a directional instability in his shoulder joint in the opposite direction as the tightness, when present.  When I found this, we added more shoulder stabilization and re-positioning exercises and education, all to train his brain and motor control to be able to keep the ball of his shoulder joint positioned in a more mechanically advantageous position.  And then, I admit it, I was too conservative.  I did not want to push his global muscles too hard before he had the small, controlled, shoulder stabilization well under hand.

And, this is where he became the hero on the team.  He decided to push himself farther than what I had told him to, and add some global exercises that I would have waited on, AND it has helped him stay better.  I am so glad that we are on the same team!

These are the reasons I am proud of this patient, and why I am glad that we are on the same team.

1.  He does what he has learned to be able help himself.

2.  He isn’t satisfied with less than the best that his body can be.

3.  He is very body aware and knew that he felt like he should try more.

4.  He knows that he is part of the team and that he is needed.

5.  He knows that therapists, even highly trained, engaged, and experienced OMPTs cannot know everything.

This story is typical of my patients.  They are smart, engaged, and want to keep active.  And they don’t give up.  But, neither do I.  I strive to learn more, and this includes learning from my patients, each and every one.  They are amazing teachers!  Thank you to my patients! I will teach you what I know; and I will learn what you keep teaching me.

We truly are better together!

JC and RL

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