Today we are highlighting Janine!
Janine has been working with us since mid July of 2020 to help leg and back pain that she had been experiencing for a long time but more recently, it has been impacting her daily and workout life dramatically. Her story is not unique at all and unfortunately this type of thing happens far too often. The medical system somewhat fails somebody and they are left without results, answers or a place to turn.
We asked her what her greatest frustration was before beginning her treatment here at our office.
“ I was assigned a doctor recommended physical therapist (“here, pick from this list”) and had no idea what to expect. I had never done PT before. I did 12 full weeks and had no changes and each time I went, felt like it was pretty much a waste of my time. But the doctor said it was what I was supposed to do, so I did it. I thought it was weird they didn’t give me anything to do between sessions, but again, I didn’t know. I got frustrated because I went twice a week for an hour each time and felt like I made no progress. That is a lot of wasted time.”
Each and every medical professional on someones team should be 100% in tune with someone’s goals, ability levels and progress is throughout the process. By no means do we make every human better who walks in these doors, we make mistakes to but this was more than just a small mishap. This experience really gives physical therapy a bad name.
“I wasn’t getting better. I wasn’t getting worse either, but no progress at all definitely didn’t make my mindset any better. Plus, I quit going to the gym, which was my outlet – not because they specifically told me not to, but I got the sense that it wasn’t helping. Which turned out not to be true. Without the gym, I really struggle mentally. I felt also like I had no guidance, I didn’t even know what to do about my symptoms since the PT person I was assigned to, didn’t know what to tell me after the 12 weeks was over – just sort of an “oh well, you did it, good luck with that“.
A program for pain relief should begin by creating a plan that works towards the goals of the person. If someone wants to get back to working out regularly, their HOME PROGRAM should reflect that.
“I was feeling low and discouraged. I thought I was stuck like this and that I would have to quit doing many of my favorite things. I didn’t know where else to go and really didn’t know what I would do if Infinite Potential could not help me.”
We asked her how the treatment began to help her. When I refer to treatment, I mean a guided home program and remote coaching between sessions.
“I was able to go back to the gym. I saw small incremental progressions – Loni said she saw great progress so I think bigger things were happening too (it’s tough to tell when it’s you). I started hiking for the first time and did really well (for me – I’m not an avid hiker but thought I would *never* be able to do it, so that is progress!). I felt more in control of what was going on, which was great.”
Now, all of that is how her rehabilitation team was not terribly helpful. This next statement is the unfortunate truth about the medical system and how it can instill great fear and anxiety into people. Many times, when someone is dealing with leg and back pain, they are sent for an MRI. Given that we (rehab pros) now know so much more about pain then we did even a few years ago, we know that an MRI is rarely necessary to help treat the symptom but should be more about ruling OUT a scary disease such as cancer. When something like cancer is not likely, the MRI can actually hurt someone mentally because, in most cases, it reveals findings that don’t tell us much. These findings are then explained in a very demonizing way and can scare people into thinking they can never be active again. These words that I am referring to are things like degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, and arthritis. We now know that they, in most cases, mean nothing more than grey hair…
This is Janine explaining how life is different now…
“I have a tricky situation – potentially something I will have to live with the rest of my life, which initially was very depressing. However, thanks to Loni at Infinite Potential, we keep a positive mind-set and I am doing EVERYTHING I want to do and with guidance. I plan to keep being active and living how I want to – I will not let my diagnosis define my life – instead with Loni’s help, I will adapt and continue. I can’t stress enough that I would not feel this positively about my situation at all if I was with my old physical therapist”
Janine and I continue to work through the understanding of her diagnosis and how it will NOT define her. She has minor fare-ups here and there but she has consistently shown that she is working on a positive and active outlook on her treatment plan.
Finally, we asked her what she would like others to know about her experience.
“Do your home program. I know there are days I don’t want to either, but truthfully, you are just cheating yourself. GIVE FEEDBACK on said program. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t be shy! If you can do more – you should mention that. They can’t help you if they don’t know what is or is not working. Try and stay positive, even if you feel your progress is small. The body is an amazing thing and sometimes things take time. Finally, Infinite Potential is really on the cutting edge of physical therapy – just like medicine, things change and improvements are made. They are doing the research and finding new ways to help, but you also need to meet them halfway and do the work. You will get better!
I am so incredibly grateful to have been given the opportunity to take her on as part of OUR team. I have for sure made my fair share of mistakes with patients, given them poor advice (in hindsight) and failed treatment plans but here in our office, we are trying to change the face of pain management and how physical therapy is viewed by the world of active people.
I could not be more proud of Janine to be working through this phase of her life, trusting the process and totally kicking ASS.
Her long term goal is to do a 2 (maybe 3) day hike next summer and she is well on her way to being able to handle that.