Thursday, April 21, 2011

Physical Therapy is Fun

I can understand if you are wondering why there is a picture of President George W. Bush on the left, when the title clearly indicates this discussion should have something to do with physical therapy (PT). The reason is quite simple. Listening to Mr. Bush give a speech is the closest approximation I could think of to describe my experience so far. Consider it for a second... you sit there watching him talk. He's our president, so silently you're rooting for him. But deep down you know it simply can't go well. It's just a matter of time before he asks Americans to put more food on their family and urges OB-GYNs everywhere to practice more love with their patients. You cringe in agony half-way through every sentence, because yep, he messed that one up too.

Physical therapy is like that. Don't be fooled by the name. PT is derived from the two english words, "Therapy" and "Physical". Therapy- meaning treatment by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process,1 - and physical - meaning characterized by, or liking rough physical contact or strenuous physical activity.2 And therein lies the problem. These two words go together about as well as double-fudge chocolate ice-cream and anchovies. A typical PT session goes something like this:
Therapist: How does doing that feel?
Me: Not too bad.
Therapist: Oh? Ok, let's try this.
Me: You want me to put my foot behind my head?
Therapist: Only as far as you're comfortable with.
Me: It feels good on the ground.
Therapist: Let's just try.
Me: I'm stuck!
Therapist: Great! Let's do three sets of 15!
Me: ... You do realize it's my shoulder that hurts, right?
Therapist: Everything's connected. Remember, stop if you feel pain.
Me: I've lost all feeling in my lower extremities, and I'm pretty sure my big toe is lodged in my left ear.
Therapist: Maybe you're not ready for this yet, but we're definitely making progress!
What I have learned though, is there are two types of muscles: The kind physical therapists think exist, which look like lean, flexible rubber-bands, and the kind that actually exist, which look more like shriveled strips of bacon fried in an trash incinerator. Also, any time the phrases "this might hurt" and "for your own good" come up, your body is about to do something that defies the general laws of physics. Considering those laws were developed purely to enable people to have access to apples without stretching up to get them, I have decided all physical therapists are actually sadist antagonists from another dimension. In fact, since the presence of other dimensions are supported by the string theory (which i once heard has something to do with rubber bands), this actually makes some sense.

The mural of the story? Fool me once, shame on... shame on... you can't get fool by an OB-GYN.
photo via Susan Sterner, The White House (US-PD)

4 comments:

  1. Oh! i know what u mean!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your intro here is spot-on. A terrific analogy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I miss him frequently. Always such a wealth of material.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Benefits of a Physical Therapy Assistant Career include the intrinsic rewards of life as a PTA. In other words, you are helping people each and every day of your career, and having a direct role in.

    Physical Therapist Assistant Schools

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