He Said . . .
By Jonathan Oldham, MSPT
Starting July 3rd, I will to be out of town for 2 weeks. I am happy to say that Erin Dunham, PT, DPT will fill in for me while I am gone. Many of you know that Erin has been recovering from a serious accident. Her return to treating patients is a huge milestone in her recovery, and it is so exciting that she is finally able to come back to patient care. The patients and all of her colleagues at Alta Physical Therapy & Pilates have missed her.
Erin and I have been working together for several months now in two different capacities. First, I have had the privilege of being on Erin’s rehabilitation team. I have been teaching her Pilates to help her recovery. Secondly, Erin has been observing and participating in patient treatment with me, focusing on Pilates-based exercise. Erin has a great affinity for the Pilates Method. I have been struck by her ability to execute and understand Pilates movement. It’s gratifying to share my approach to Pilates and rehabilitation with Erin, and to deepen my understanding through hearing Erin’s perspective.
I hold deep admiration for Erin both professionally and personally. She is a highly educated and superbly gifted physical therapist. Through this accident she has demonstrated the utmost courage, tenacity and discipline. Words cannot express the thrill and gratitude I feel that Erin is back in patient care and also that she is able to incorporate the Pilates Method in her practice.
For me, rehab is a full time job. If you include recovery from rehab (sleep and putting my feet up), it is much more than a full time job. Much more. Despite this I am happy to say that I am also back to my job as a physical therapist! I am busy, I sometimes overdo it, but I am thrilled to be back doing what I love to do. What I am doing has changed a bit, for the better. I am learning the Pilates method, a form of movement therapy that has been essential to my own rehab.
I started Pilates training with Jonathan Oldham, PT, in January and I now spend 45 minutes, 3-4 days a week doing Pilates. I love it. I think I will do Pilates for the rest of my life. I think I may need to do Pilates for the rest of my life to manage my injury, specifically my back injury. I’m OK with that and I’m definitely OK with Pilates becoming a hallmark part of my work as a PT.
Here’s a quick update on how my body is healing:
- My neck feels good, even though I fractured C2 in the accident. Hard to believe, but I count my blessings. My hip is weak. It doesn’t really hurt, but I have lots of strength to gain. I would like to be able to run again, and the hip has to be stronger first.
- I have scars all over my body. Some still open up if I bump them, wear a certain pair of pants, or look at them funny. The new skin is very tender and I use more sunscreen than ever before.
- My back is still my biggest hang up. It still hurts; sometimes a lot, sometimes not as much. I am proud to say there is improvement and I wasn’t so confident of that for a while. Pilates has been a huge part of that improvement. I still sometimes hate my back, but I love Pilates and I try to focus on that.
- Why has Pilates been so great? I don’t know if I have a perfectly clear answer to that but I have some ideas. First, Pilates is very safe. This safety keeps my nervous system very calm, something difficult to do when you’ve been hit by a car and launched 100 feet across the road! Second, it is very specific. I majored in math in college, and I love precision and specificity. I understand exactly what we are focusing on and put my energy into it. A lot of focus is on my back (obviously). In Pilates, you keep most of the body stable and specifically work one joint or muscle – I LOVE that.
- Lastly, Pilates is very global. This seems opposite of my love of specificity but while I work on a specific muscle, I am globally stabilizing the rest of my body.
My fiancé asked me one evening if I was doing anything for my core, knowing core strength is important to many activities. I laughed because everything I do in Pilates incorporates global core strength and postural control. It is such a perfect fit for my rehab needs and my personality. And it makes me happy.
Jonathan is an incredible Pilates instructor and teacher, as well as a gifted physical therapist. I have learned so much from him in the last several months. I hope that I will someday have his amazing Pilates skills. I am available to treat patients when Jonathan is on vacation in July, and thereafter with his busy schedule. Pilates resonates and compliments the way I was already practicing physical therapy. I am so excited to learn more, hone my skills and share my abilities with my patients. I am so glad to be back!