The Time is Now
It has been has been said that in life, timing is everything. The same could be said about rehabilitation of an injury.
When a patient first comes into Physical Therapy, the first visit is the initial evaluation. One of the first questions asked is “how long has your injury been bothering you?” More often than not, the answer is between 6-12 months. The second question asked at that point, “what took so long to have this addressed?” There are a lot of answers to this question, but some of the more common responses are; 1) It wasn’t that bad/ didn’t hurt that much. 2) I have a high tolerance to pain. 3) I got really busy and didn’t have time. 4) I thought it would go away. Clinical experience has shown that if after 4-5 days, your symptoms are not gone or at least 90% better, they will not go away without intervention.
The old medical model for recovery of an injury that included waiting to see your primary care physician, going home and resting for a month and then return to the MD to check your symptoms, has been proven time and time again to be unsuccessful. By resting and waiting to see if your symptoms go away, you may have a reduction in pain, however, you have not done anything to restore the motion or strength you have lost, or return the joint to it’s normal biomechanical function. When symptoms are present, however minor or severe, the involved joint(s) and musculature will be inhibited as a protective measure, therefore causing loss of normal and efficient motion, strength and biomechanics. When the normal mechanics are altered, compensatory movement patterns are created which then increases the difficulty of the rehabilitation process.
With the onset of direct access (which has been discussed in previous blogs) a new medical model has been set in place to streamline care and allow for a more quick and easy recovery of injury. If you find yourself asking the question, “when should I seek care for my injury?” the answer is sooner, rather than later. A good rule of thumb to follow is, if after 4-5 days your pain is still present, initiate the process to go to Physical Therapy so that you will recover more quickly. The time is NOW to stop being in pain and return to your normal way of life.
Anthony Mencucci PT