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Monday, January 18, 2010

Helping Friends and Family

Lately I've had the chance to help lots of friends and family.

Physical therapists in general get asked lots of "I have this pain, that won't go away...what should I do?" types of questions. I never mind answering a few questions or helping someone decide whether or not they should see the doctor. Its gratifying and usually straight forward.

The upside of helping friends and family is when my advice or treatment really helps. They are grateful and it is feels great to help the people that mean a lot to you.

The downside is when your advice or treatment doesn't help. This happenend about a year ago with Patrick. Every time I tried to help him with back pain, he got worse. I was so bummed. The one person in my life who I really, really wanted to make better just got worse and worse. He had back pain and would walk around the house in pain. I cringed inside, wishing there was something more I could do.
I told him, "I don't think you can be my client anymore. You're not totally honest about how you're doing with your symptoms. You should get treated by someone else. Want to try a chiropractor?" Part of the difficulty was that he didn't tell me if a treatment I did didn't work. He was afraid to hurt my feelings.

He was just as disappointed as me. He replied, "No, Zoya. I trust you the most. I don't know that anyone can help me if you can't." Fortunately shortly after, his back started progressively feeling better. He just avoided the aggravating activities and stuck with things that were painfree. Letting nature take its course was the best treatment for him.

For some people that works, but for others, they greatly benefit from a little "kick-start" towards healing. This often is in the form of manual therapy, looking at ergonomics (someone who sits at a desk for 8 hours and has headaches, arm pain, neck pain would benefit from making sure their workstation is set up egonomically correct), sometimes exercises, posture and education on pain, source of pain and how to help their body progress with healing.

Lately family has presented with back pain, plantar fasciitis (sister training for marathon), traumatic skiing knee injury (very recent injury of family member). I"m glad to be able to offer advice here and there-even if from a distance. Sometimes people just need a listening board to get a gauge on how serious their symptoms are or if there are some simple exercises or something that could be done to help.

I'm always honored when friends choose to come to me, and I maintain confidentiality just like my regular clients. This always baffles Patrick-if he hears from someone that they're coming to me for PT. He says, "Zoya never said anything!?" I"m true to my confidentiality.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I've wanted to be a physical therapist and I truly love my job. And who ever would've guessed I'd be back in my home town with my dream job?


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