As athletes we pride ourselves in taking care of our bodies. We do our very best to make sure that we exercise enough, we eat right and we get enough sleep (most of the time). Yet, why do only 25% of people go to see a physical therapist, doctor or healthcare professional when they get injured?
This is something I simply cannot understand. If your car breaks down you bring it to the shop. If your child is sick you bring them to the doctor. But if you hurt yourself what do you do? Stop running, lifting, going to yoga fill in the blank_________ for a little while. Maybe you ice, stretch or look up “what do I do when my knee hurts?” on Google. Rarely do athletes make the time to invest in themselves when it comes to injury.
As a physical therapist I have been trying to decide why people don’t come to PT. Is it lack of education around what we do? Is it time? Money? Not making yourself a priority? Or is it a bad experience elsewhere? I have come to think it is a combination of all of the above.
Bad experiences happen and we hate it too. Like all professions, not all physical therapists are created equal. Not all PT clinics see patients every 15 or 20 minutes and do only exercise.
There are cash-based PT clinics, like ours that are different. We see patients one on one for an hour. We are able to take the time to listen to your story, understand your background and figure out exactly what is going on. We combine clinical reasoning, functional assessments, neuromuscular re-education and exercise with cutting edge manual, hands on care. We collaborate with other practitioners and make sure you are getting exactly what you need.
Every day we get calls from frustrated people that all but lost hope of getting better. Their story almost always begins with “I have been to 3,4, 5 (fill in the blank) physical therapists, multiple doctors and no one can figure out what is wrong with me.” This is what we do.
A mentor of mine once said, “If you just listen, the patient will tell you exactly what you need to know to help them.” It doesn’t matter how good a therapist is if they don’t have the time to sit down and hear the patients story. If you have been through the typical PT system and it isn’t working go somewhere else.
Perhaps you have never been to PT, so a bad experience isn’t the issue. Instead you have decided that you know best or if you ignore it then the pain will go away. Ignoring your symptoms doesn’t usually work.
Put on your oxygen mask first. Value yourself and your body. Put yourself first for once and remember that you cannot take care of others until you take care of yourself. If running, yoga or any other form of exercise is your sanity what happens when you loose it? What happens when the wheels come off?
If you don’t stop and take care of yourself when injury starts to rear its ugly head then it takes longer to get better. Stop the cycle get help now. You are no good to your family, your friends or even your job if you are in pain and miserable.
Maybe you make excuses like, “I am too busy at work,” or “I have a family to take care of.” We understand. It takes time and effort to get well.
Take the time now, don’t wait. If you get injured now and keep pushing yourself the once acute injury may very well become chronic pain. If you wait to take care of an injury recovery will take longer and studies have shown it is more expensive.
Which brings me to my last point; spend the money now to get good care first.
You pay for what you get. In order for us to provide the best care possible we see less patients a day so we have to charge more.
Good care is expensive in the short term but can save you so much money, time and frustration in the long run. We recognize that spending the money can be difficult but you have options. Talk to your provider. Use you out of network benefits, your health savings account or spend the money. Most places will work with you.
In the end you are the only one that can make the choice to take care of your body. Taking care of nagging or acute injuries is taking care of your body. Just like a car needs maintenance so does you body. Don’t get in your own way.
You are the only one that can decide what you are worth. What is running pain free worth to you? What is getting your sanity back worth? What is sleeping at night worth? What is bending over to pick you child up worth? This is ultimately your decision. Its time to stop making excuses and take care of yourself so you can get back to doing what you love or keep doing what you love for the long run.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out!