A F resh S tart vs . a P ainful O bligation HOW TO FOSTER A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE IN 2019
Vital Care Patients ENTER TO WIN Find the misspelled word in this newsletter and call (623) 544-0300 for your chance to win a $10 gift card! CALL (623) 544-0300 Contest is for past and present Vital Care PT patients only. When you’re dealing with new or recurring pain, the idea of having to start over often leads to frustration, and this is perfectly understandable. The new year offers people something that is truly great: the psychology of a fresh start. After millions of people count down to midnight on the eve of 2019, they get a burst of motivation the next morning, the urge to set a bunch of resolutions, and an overall positive change in perspective. For me, this month is particularly noteworthy because I will have just finished celebrating 22 wonderful years of marriage with my husband at the end of December, and I will celebrate my 44th birthday at the end of January. While New Year’s celebrations tend to foster positivity, for patients who have recently suffered an injury, have been in an accident, or had surgery, the idea of a fresh start morphs into the obligation of having to start over.
“While New Year’s celebrations tend to foster positivity, for patients who have recently suffered an injury, have been in an accident, or had surgery, the idea of a fresh start morphs into the obligation of having to start over.” season, for example, patients experience pain more frequently due to completing tasks they don’t ordinarily take on during the rest of the year, such as putting up and taking down twinkly lights, reaching for heavy storage bins, and hunching over to wrap presents. These activities result in new injuries or cause past injuries to act up, which isn’t a fun way to start off the new year. My team and I work to redirect patients’ feelings of frustration with proper goal-setting strategies and an emphasis on individual interests. We start by coming up with an end goal and then defining smaller goals to help get us there. If a client wants to be able to go on a five-minute walk around their neighborhood, we make goals for two minutes and then three, creating tasks to help them achieve their ambition. We constantly take measurements to quantify progress. This helps maintain the motivation needed to reach the end goal. It is my team’s job to help curb that frustration and realign patients’ perspectives regarding their physical therapy journey. During the holiday
Next, we spend ample time figuring out each patient’s interests and try to find some way to incorporate them into his or her therapy exercises. For example, I treat many people who are huge sports buffs. If a guy tells me that he loves to golf, I’ll come up with exercises that center around the movements associated with his golf swing or putting stance. I remember two patients in particular who truly excelled once we incorporated their interests into their rehabilitation. One man, who suffered from stiffness, imbalance, and tremors due to his Parkinson’s diagnosis, told me that he loved baseball. I gave him a pool noodle and tossed a ball so he could swing away. The other man, a stroke survivor, wasn’t necessarily a sports lover, but he was a huge Star Wars fanatic. We would each take a pool noodle, pretend they were lightsabers, and joust back and forth. While these tactics helped make the process more motivating for the patients, I have to admit that I love them for my own selfish reasons — playing baseball and fighting Star Wars-style makes my job so fun! As life slows back down from the chaos that surrounds the holiday season, you might notice that your back hurts from all the movement. Try to avoid viewing this recurring pain as an obligation to start over. Instead, come see us for a “tune up” so we can integrate some fun exercises into your recovery and set practical goals to help you enjoy 2019 the way you want.
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