Earlier this summer, I became another victim of Lyme disease in the Hudson Valley. Shocking, I know. It's pretty amazing I've made it 31 years before finally succumbing to one of those nasty little ticks considering how much time I spend outside and in the Shawangunk Mountains. Thank goodness I had a successful and relatively uneventful course of treatment with antibiotics. When it was confirmed I had Lyme, I was ticked off to say the least so when talking with friends and family, I was telling them that Lyme got stuck with me, not that I got stuck with Lyme. It was a simple shift of my mindset but I was determined to beat the you-know-what out of that stupid tick and its "gift" to me. It messed with the wrong human!
But it also got me thinking about how people and clients I have worked with tackle injuries, pain and physical limitations. More often than not, I have a very good idea of who will do well with physical therapy and who might not be as successful before I even start treatment. Although they are contributing factors, it usually isn't age, gender, fitness level or severity of injury that predicts success. It is a positive mindset and "what do I have to do to beat this?" attitude that makes a huge difference versus a "why did this happen to me?" attitude. I realize I am speaking in generalities and there are always exceptions to the rule but time and time again those that jump head on into whatever challenge they face and are motivated to do whatever it takes to get better usually do.
I am reminded of one of my favorite clients from a few years ago. At the time, she was 70 years old and had fallen resulting in ligament tears on both sides of her right elbow. It is bad enough when you tear one a la Tommy John, let alone two! One major surgery later to repair the ligament damage and she was scheduled for her physical therapy evaluation with me. Right off the bat I had a good feeling about her because "she didn't have time to be slowed down" by this. She wanted to get to work and I got lucky because she made my job very easy. Given her age, severity of injury and tissue quality, it would not be unreasonable to think she might end up with some limitations after such a major injury and surgery but again "she didn't have time for that". Couple that attitude with a great sense of humor and she beat all expectations and then some. I am convinced that her success was largely due to her positive mindset and less about my skill as her physical therapist.
So my question is when pain, injury and physical limitation shows up for whatever reason, who got stuck with who? I prefer to think that it got stuck with me and picked the wrong human to mess with. I encourage you to think the same.
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Dr. Greg Cecere
Your personal physical therapist, movement educator and knowledge dispenser.
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The contents of this blog is meant for educational purposes only. Momentum Physical Therapy of New Paltz and Dr. Greg Cecere are not responsible for any harm or injury that may occur due to any information on this blog as it is by no means a substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.