How Innovative Physical Therapy Saved my Health
One morning I woke up and my right arm/shoulder were in pain. I shrugged it off to just another one of those, you just turned 40 and getting older pains. Well this one didn’t go away and it became worse. I went to the doctor and found out I had tears in my labrum and rotator cuff. Surgery was strongly recommended followed by a long 6-12 month recovery. A second opinion agreed, but also suggested we try PT first to see if that would provide relief and postpone surgery given how busy our lives are.
My shoulder and for that matter, all of my muscles were very weak. I had let myself go. 30lbs over weight. Barely any working out. A high stress job, a family with 3 kids under 12 all with sports and homework, a house to keep up and seemingly no time during any day of the week allowed the excuse not to take care of myself. “I will get to me when the kids get older and things calm down.” Things never calm down. Well, off I went to PT. I made a promise to take it seriously, although I was very skeptical. I was a former college athlete and knew my body. These little exercises weren’t going to do anything for me. Surgery was a forgone conclusion.
Treatment 1 - After my initial consult, I showed up Monday morning at 8am to start my 3 times a week for 8 weeks treatment with Cecily. Cecily is a vibrant and funny PT who can hold a conversation with anyone who walks through the door. She makes you feel welcome. Like you are part of her extended family. She is tell it like it is and direct. Just what I need. Someone who isn’t going to let me half ass it.
So Day 1 hurt. Not necessarily my shoulder although it was certainly tested, but my ego. I was more than weak. I was feeble. I was having trouble dealing with the lightest resistance. After my session as I drove to work, I was emotional. My ego was broken. What had I done to myself over the years? How could I have let myself go the much?
Treatment 2 through Treatment 23 - I came back to my second appointment with a renewed spirit. I had made the decision that this was going to be my turning point and I was going to do everything that was asked of me. No excuses. The early sessions sucked. They hurt. Physically and emotionally. You do think about quitting or at least mailing it in with a half effort, but Cecily is right there to keep pushing you. After about the 5th session, the scale begins to tip to the other side. You move up in resistance bands. The little red one become the medium green one. A small victory. The 2lb weight becomes a 5lb. Another battle won. With these successes come increases in mood and most importantly hope.
I remained dedicated. It actually got to the point where I was looking forward to each session and would get upset at the prospects of missing for some reason. Speaking of rescheduling, iPT made it so easy for me to reschedule. Cecily would even show up an hour early if I had a meeting that I had to get to for work. In a world where good customer service almost non-existent, iPT has customer service figured out.
Treatment 24 - Graduation Day. I learned that the # of sessions or the end date that is given for treatment is arbitrary. Everyone responds differently and treatment can be shortened or extended. My timeline happened to be spot on. I will never forget this day. We would end each session with shoulder exercises and stretching where Cecily would use her own resistance. On Day 1, I could barely budge her arm. It was embarrassing. I had previously been called weak by one of the orthopedic doctors I had a consult with. I couldn’t budge him on my resistance test. He shook his head and reminded me that he was more than 20 years older than I was. So here I was again, trying to do the same thing and having no success. At least Cecily didn’t call me weak. She didn’t have to. My last day was a little different though. We went through the normal routine. I felt strong. My shoulder didn’t hurt at all. I had just broken my record on the kettle bell hold. I was using the max weight and resistance bands for my other exercises. We had come to the final few resistance exercises and right in the middle we stopped. Cecily said, “Well, I think we are done treatments now. You almost pulled me across the table.”
The next 120 days and beyond - I was not going to let this fresh start fade away. My health was not taking a backseat any longer. I bought a universal weight machine and a treadmill. The family and I had an unspoken rule that 8pm every night was “Joe Time.” I downloaded the myFitnessPal app and tracked everything I ate and all of my workouts. I worked hard and watched my weight drop 25lbs, my BMI to get into the healthy range, my “skinny” clothes were all fitting again. I was getting full nights of sleep. My stress levels were more than manageable. I was healthy and happy again. To top the all off, no shoulder surgery needed!
Physical Therapy saved my health. Specifically, Innovative PT and Cecily saved my health. They gave me the spark and patiently fanned it into a roaring fire!