If you’ve gone to physical therapy before, you’ve likely been asked this question:
“What are your goals for physical therapy?” Or maybe it was asked a different way, “How is this affecting your life?” and possibly a follow up of “What have you previously tried, and what are you willing to do to get this 100% better.”
I pride myself and my practice on honesty & transparency. While honest answers to these questions are useful, it’s less useful if the patient feels like they should give the “right” answer. Many times, people will respond with, “I’ll do whatever it takes!” But when They’re not in sharp pain anymore, and can do most things, the problem as a whole is much less a priority…and that’s okay, in fact that’s human nature. Unless you are a peak condition, high performance athlete, or, on the other end of the spectrum, in bad shape and need a total body overhaul, I expect this to a certain degree.
The gardening connection. I don’t garden, I don’t like it. I think it goes along with me rebelling against stereotypical female domestic duties…but that’s a different talk for a different day. However, some of my neighbors do like to garden, and I don’t want to bring down the neighborhood. Let’s say my shrubs are dead (again), and I go to a garden store, and I just want some basic green thing & mulch. Next thing I know, I’m being asked about the nitrogen content of my soil and being told about how this plant can grow really hearty in this climate, but if there’s a frost, I have to softly wrap in in a burlap sack…
No. I’m not going to do that. This is why my old shrubs are dead! I don’t mean relatively easy to take care of, I mean if there was a negative end to the scale- that easy! But, alas, plants are what this kind well-meaning person as the garden store does for a living. It would be insulting to say that, so, I get my burlap sacks, knowing they’ll never be used.
If you’re up for a little stand-up comedy laugh, I’ve adopted “I can’t be arsed” from this clip 4:38-) into my regular vocabulary.
Moral of the story: If you come into my office and tell me, “It’s annoying, and I don’t like it, that’s why I’m here. Now that I think about it, once it goes back under my threshold of noticing it, I won’t really feel the motivation to do any of this stuff, and my life will go on, I’m a busy person, I’ve got stuff to do. In a few months if this bothers me again, I’ll be back, because the time and money investment of a one or two time session is appealing to me vs. spending a lot of time to make it better when it’s under my threshold of pain anyway. Maybe If I keep having this problem, and life calms down a bit- then I’ll think about dealing with this for good,” I would appreciate the reciprocal transparency & honesty. It would make my job of what treatments to prioritize easier. Don’t think, “this is what this person eats, sleeps, and does for a living- it would be rude if I didn’t go along with her plan.” I don’t judge humans for being human.