1110 N. CEDAR COURT CARBONDALE, IL 62901
PHONE: (618) 529-4360 FAX: (618) 529-4560
12 SOUTH DIVISION STREET DU QUOIN, IL 62832
PHONE: (618) 542-8950 FAX: (618) 542-8746
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THE NEWSLETTER ABOUT YOUR HEALTH AND CARING FOR YOUR BODY
ADDRESSING PATIENTS’ FEARS
A Physical Therapist’s Lesser-Known Ability
On Halloween, ghosts and goblins lurk around every corner waiting to spook and scare unsuspecting victims. But we don’t shy away from such frights — far from it, in fact! It’s a tradition to dress up as some of our favorite scary characters and parade around town asking for candy. Haunted houses pop up in every neighborhood, and we all start thinking of clever ways to prank our loved ones. We address our fears outright in October. The type of fear experienced by our patients at Synergy Therapeutic is a little different, however. Fear holds back relief for our patients, and many struggle with confronting it. There’s always a fear of the unknown with an injury. Some people worry about being able to do the exercises. Occasionally, the fear is even deeper. We often see patients who have lived with debilitating pain or injury for far too long. Some patients come in with decades of pain, having continually made abnormal adjustments to their lives just so they can function and get through the day. There may even be a fear of living normally and being healthier, because for so long they have lived a different way. What people who are not physical therapists might not realize is that we are doing so much more than leading someone through exercises and techniques. As physical therapists, we play many roles. We’re medical experts. We act as sounding boards for new ideas and tactics. We’re friends that patients can vent to. And usually, we’re like psychologists, delving into deeper issues than just foot, leg, or shoulder problems. It’s our job to show our patients how physical therapy can benefit them and help them lead healthy, strong lives. That first appointment is so important;
that’s where we show them that even one appointment can have a lasting impact on their health and mobility.
Every patient has different limits. Some need to be pushed, while others need coaxing. A good physical therapist will understand this delicate balance of navigating a patient’s recovery fears. We went through rigorous schooling to be where we are, but without a common understanding of how to push our patients safely beyond their limits and address their fears, that schooling becomes worthless. It’s like a switch — one that no patient really wants to touch, but one that needs to be flipped if we want to see a patient succeed. To those who have never experienced physical therapy, this might sound unusual. How does addressing a fear help your leg heal? Even those who have been through some of our programs may not fully understand. But on some level, every patient we treat will have a fear that has the potential to hold them back. Every day, we address our patients’ deepest fears. We’re coaching them through major life obstacles, and if we don’t confront their fears with them, healing won’t happen. You can’t learn how to live a healthy and happy life when you’re stuck in your old habits and movement patterns. You have to expand and grow, and as physical therapists, we promise we will encourage that — no matter how scary it is.
– Subrat Bahinipati
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