Keeping you current on all things LBPT
I ’ve been passionate about being a physical therapist for a long time. That might seem like an obvious thing for a practicing physical therapist to say, but there’s a reason behind it. I really started to discover my passion for PT while volunteering in a hospital setting. I loved working with patients and helping them. There was an exhilarating challenge to it. But it was difficult to dedicate the time I wanted to because I was expected to see patients every half hour and was unable to devote the amount of time my patients deserved. I loved the work, but I needed to be in a place where I could really focus on my duties and be a resource patients could rely on. I made the choice to open my own clinic because I wanted to spend at least one hour with each patient. That was my big thing. I desired to practice in my own way. Nine years later, that drive still propels me. Of course, the way I work and how I run the practice has changed quite a bit over those nine years. One thing that motivates me more today is collaborating with everyone who works at the clinic. Our team members are all self-motivated and need to be heard. As the practice grows, I’ve thought more about the type of clinic where I would have loved to work when I started practicing. That’s what I want Lake Burien to be, and collaboration is a big part of that. As a clinician, there’s something rewarding about not just offering PT but being able to guide a patient through the entire healing process. When a new patient comes to me, I get to go on a journey with them. Yes, I share my knowledge of biomechanics and the musculoskeletal structure. But more than that, I get to show patients how to treat their pain independently and find a greater understanding of why they are experiencing it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s a very educational, if not transcendent, experience.
how pain works, I’ve found that the word very much applies. Since we work with patients who are in severe pain, they are often mentally in a very dark place. They battle doubt, worry, anxiety, and depression. When you can no longer do what you love because of pain — and you haven’t immediately found the cause — that can have a huge effect on your mental well-being. I wanted to change our patients’ perspectives, find answers, and help them climb out of these dark places. I spoke to a patient recently who came in with severe leg pain. This patient had been a contra dancer and loved to hike. But with such intense leg pain, he could no longer do these things. The discomfort had taken him away from just about everything he loved to do for a full year. I worked with this patient and really got down to the “why” of his pain. After a handful of visits to the clinic, things started to change. After only a few months, he was able to get back to what he loved to do. He went hiking through the Enchantments and even started attending dance conventions. In fact, this past summer, this patient attended a convention that kept him on his feet for 30 hours over a weekend. All the while, his leg pain was gone. When people face pain, all too often, the pain impacts many facets of their life. It limits their ability to participate in social engagements, physical pursuits, and sometimes their work. Their mental health suffers and we make sure to take that into account when they are treated at LBPT.
I can say that, through our approach, we’ve done just what we set out to do. And at the end of the day, that is why I love being a physical therapist.
P.S. My birthday is on Thursday, Feb. 28! To celebrate, we’re having cake and free screens! Be sure to check out all the details in this month’s insert!
–Dr. Orit Hickman
I’m well aware “transcendent” isn’t a word often associated with physical therapy, but as I’ve practiced PT and learned more about
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