Lake Burien PT September 2019


September 2019


Keeping you current on all things LBPT


S eptember is a weird month; it’s a transitional month. It’s not quite summer anymore, but it’s not quite fall either. A lot of people are still out boating and enjoying summer activities (myself included), but we’re also preparing for the end of the year. For me, this month I’ll be going “back” to school. I’m starting a process to become officially certified as a pain educator. For anyone who’s come into our clinic, you already know me as a pain educator, but I thought, why not get the certification? The timing is perfect. My son, Emerson, is back in school, and my husband, Matt, is teaching. We’re not going to be out on the boat every weekend, so I can buckle down and focus. It will still be somewhat of a challenge: The certification course runs from September through February of next year and classes are online, meaning it’s self-directed learning. This is a big shift from what I’m used to, which is the traditional classroom environment with other students and a teacher. But this is the way it’s done these days. Matt teaches a lot of classes online and for many people, it’s the expectation. It’s the new norm, and I get to learn all about it. It will be great to learn even more about pain and pain treatment so we can better serve you. We already specialize in treating people with chronic pain, but our understanding of pain is constantly improving. It’s to the point that many pain specialists and researchers are trying to change the language of pain — that is to say, instead of saying “chronic pain,” a better term would be “persistent pain syndrome.” Chronic pain makes it sound like it can’t heal and that it’s there forever. In reality, many people are dealing with persistent pain, which comes from many different sources and has different levels of intensity but doesn’t always last “forever.”

answer the question of “How do we treat this?” I’ve been taking this approach for the last seven years, but I wanted a more formal education on the matter. I have practical knowledge, but I want to be able to better educate our patients and the public at large. When I graduated from physical therapy school in 2000, physical therapy education was changing. Schools were only offering master’s programs. After I graduated, the doctorate in physical therapy was introduced. My school told me I could come back for a few additional classes to earn my doctorate, which I did two years later. After I earned my doctorate and began using it ( Dr. Orit Hickman), a lot of people were confused. It was so new, and people hadn’t heard of it. But it was a clear sign where the field of PT was going and now, with this certification to be a pain education specialist, we have another new direction. Our field is expanding, and we’re getting a better understanding of how pain works and how it can be properly treated. That’s huge! Seven years ago, when I took a class on pain and started educating patients on pain, people looked at me as if I was an oddity. Everyone was asking, “What are you doing?” Our approach was different, but it was working! People were getting better. It turns out, what we were doing back then was cutting edge. It’s so much easier to find stuff about pain science today than ever before. While there is still a lot we don’t know, what we have learned has helped so many people. Take for example the old way of treating back pain: Doctors would tell their patients to “take it easy” and to lay down and avoid moving. Today, the opposite is true! You have to keep moving!

I’m excited to go back to school and learn new things about pain, and I’m even more excited to share what I learn with you!

–Dr. Orit Hickman

It’s all about understanding the neuroscience behind the pain and how the brain and nervous system trigger this pain. We have to

P.S. Next month is Lake Burien PT’s 10-year anniversary! Look for more info on that soon! It’s going to be a blast! • 1

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