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ON THE MOVE
Why I Love Physical Therapy MY ‘WHY’
This may not be a popular opinion, but I’m not a football fan. I’ve always been more into basketball, even when I was a kid, but becoming a physical therapist didn’t help warm me to the contact sport. If anything, learning how the body works just made watching those big hits even more cringe-inducing! But, as much as physical therapy has made me aware of how many ways an athlete can injure themselves, the practice has also shown me the resilience of the human body. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years of practice, it’s that as long as you’re not doing extremely dangerous activities, you can overcome your injuries. As therapists, we do our best to communicate this to patients — something that can be really difficult at first. This is especially true when working with young athletes. Kids can get very upset, believing the pain they feel is permanent. But a confident therapist with the right training can assess their injuries objectively and put them on the path to recovery. And I really do put an emphasis on the importance of confidence here. The more the field of physical therapy expands, the more we find out that it’s more than just physical — there’s a psychological element of what we do. You can be the most knowledgeable therapist in the world, but if your patients don’t believe that the exercises you teach them will help, they won’t stick with them. To be able to inspire people to work through their injuries, that inspiration has to come sincerely from the therapist. That’s part of what I love so much about this profession. Helping people find out that, yes, they can overcome their challenges is an incredible feeling. When I see a patient’s eyes light up as they understand the possibilities opening up to them, their joy is infectious. When you think about it, a therapist’s job is to give people hope — hope that they’ll move better, feel better, and live better than when
they came into your clinic. I often wish someone could have given me that kind of hope when I was a kid.
I suffered from many ankle sprains as a child. My feet were very flat, which made playing basketball, or even just running around and being a kid, very difficult to do without twisting something. I tried things like tighter shoe laces and ankle braces but still always seemed to hurt myself in the same spot. What I needed was a good physical therapist. Unfortunately, at the time, physical therapy wasn’t viewed as highly in the medical world as it is today. My doctor didn’t even suggest I see a therapist. Instead, they sent me to an orthotics professional who did all these cockamamie “techniques” that only made my pain worse. What may have done even more damage was being told to stay off my feet as much as possible. My ankles remained weak and never fully recovered. Looking back, this was the wrong approach for the difficulties I was facing. I should have been doing exercises to rehabilitate my ankles and teach the reaction time I needed to compensate for my flat feet. The human body was made to be in motion, something we’ve come to understand better in more recent years. The old doctor’s adage, “Just go home and rest,” can sometimes do more harm than good. It certainly did for me. That’s why I’m passionate about what we do. Our clinicians have the power to help people bounce back from their injuries, overcome pain, and prevent future complications. Seeing the joy this brings people is the reason I get up in the morning.
–Dr. Robert Morea
718.747.2019 ▪ THEPTDOCTOR.COM ▪ 1
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