Lake Burien PT December 2018

Waves

December 2018

MAKING

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M y philosophy toward physical therapy is clinic, this has been my belief. When I became a clinician in 2000, I’d graduated after learning from professors who had an idealistic view on what physical therapy should be — and how a clinic should run. From there, I spent three years working in a hospital setting and six years working in a private practice setting — both had a specific approach to PT. As a clinician, I struggled to provide the level of care patients truly deserved and needed. I couldn’t form meaningful relationships with the people who came in, which meant I couldn’t get to the bottom of what was causing their pain. “My philosophy of treatment is to get to the root cause. I want to know what’s causing the pain and how we can change that.” straightforward. I’m here to solve problems and champion others to live their best lives. From that first day when I opened my own physical therapy That changed when I opened my own clinic. I knew I wanted to approach PT in a way that was different than traditional clinics. Part of that was spending real one-on-one time with patients. I found that when I was able to devote time to patients, I was able to learn more about their pain. We could have a conversation about it and truly understand the cause rather than just treat the symptoms and move on. People often deal with pain that doesn’t follow the traditional path of musculoskeletal pain. This is pain that people deal with for years — pain that doesn’t come from an obvious source. I’ve dealt with this kind of pain myself that went down my leg and left me scratching my head.

I remember one of the big turning points in the way I practiced PT, one

almost as big as opening my own clinic. I attended a class on nervous system pain. This class blew my mind and

answered so many questions I had for years! Needless to say, I took as many notes as possible and brought them back to the practice. What I learned in this class became a cornerstone of what we do at Lake Burien Physical Therapy. When it comes to pain, there is often an underlying problem. Pain may come and go, either on its own or with the aid of over-the-counter pain medication, but the fundamental problem is still there. It can seem that no matter what you do, the pain is always coming back. In some cases, the longer a person deals with pain, the more serious psychological and social implications there are. I’ve seen how pain can impact a person’s job, their family, and their social life. People start making decisions around their pain. They may skip out on a vacation because they feel they won’t be able to sit in a car for an extended period of time. They give up things they love because of pain. Taking these things into account, my philosophy of treatment is to get to the root cause. I want to know what’s causing the pain and how we can change that. Part of the change comes down to patient education and shifting how people think about pain. I’ve learned it’s not easy, but it’s always worth it.

-Dr. Orit Hickman

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