Physical therapists pride themselves on staying fit, and our PT staff is no exception. That’s why I was shocked when, at a recent in-service, we looked more closely at our own limitations. Our colleague, Lori, asked for a subject to demonstrate a technique for opening up the front of the chest, and Russ volunteered by raising his right arm. He raised his arm, and we all raised our eyebrows. Really? Who knew? It was hard to believe that Russ had such a tight right shoulder. He’s super active and very athletic. I don’t know why I was surprised because we all have some limitations: for Scott, it was the front of his left hip and for me, ankles. Yes, we all stay active and fit despite our limitations, but if we continue to ignore these problems, we may come to a point where they can’t be ignored anymore.
Every month we have a few hours set aside to teach each other what we’ve learned at a course. We share journal articles, techniques, and treatment philosophies. Last Thursday, Mary, Lori and Jonathan taught us some incredible techniques for releasing restrictions in the nervous system. They are osteopathic techniques that tap into your body’s inherent rhythms to increase movement throughout the nervous system. It’s a subtle kind of work- work that requires a practitioner to have sensitive hands. And, as we learn more such techniques, our sensitivity grows.
Scott and I treated each other and as he was working, I felt my nervous system start to unwind. It reminded me how lucky I am to work with such a gifted group of manual therapists. Two hours flew by, and we all ended up with more movement and more relaxed nervous systems. Ahhh. Who needs a Google campus playground?
Learning keeps us growing and engaged so when we check shoulder motion next time, we might have a new way of feeling for restrictions and getting them to melt away. We want all our patients to not only experience the “ahhh” feeling, but to use that newly gained motion in all their activities.
We are so lucky to have an engaged and interested group of therapists with a diverse set of skills and interests, and we capitalize on this by sharing patients and making internal referrals. When your therapist recommends that you have another therapist take a look at you, do it. They may have a complementary set of skills that can be the key to reaching your therapy goals.
Through years of these trainings and treatments, my many aches and pains have mostly gone away. No more sciatica, no more headaches, and no more right sacroiliac joint pain. I have gained a new appreciation for what’s possible. I have given up the old belief system about what a 63 year old should be able to do.
We want that for our patients. And that’s why we are motivated to keep developing new skills and new ways of seeing old problems. So if you plateaued at your last go round of PT, don’t give up. We won’t give up either. A solution is waiting for you.