Do I Have Medical Treatments and Cures That Will Accelerate Healing

Do we have medical treatments and cures that will accelerate your body’s ability to heal faster than scientifically possible? We regularly get questions about certain new and novel treatments that are supposed to “have me back running in half the time” or “have me skiing after ligament injury weeks or months before the doctors told me to”. To answer the question simply, NO, we don’t have that. Unfortunately none of us can radically accelerate the body’s ability to heal, but we do have scientifically based techniques and systems for optimizing healing. Let’s look at what really can be done with physical therapy or other interventions. First we can address swelling and edema which tend to limit the body’s ability to heal. When you have a backlog of fluid surrounding a joint blood flow may be restricted. Blood flow is the only way healing occurs. Next, it is vital to optimize mechanics. We are experts at assessing how a joint moves and the forces involved in any activity whether it is walking, running, skiing, cycling, throwing, etc. There are many factors to consider when assessing mechanics, in short, this involves the joints surrounding the area injured, muscular control throughout the entire limb and trunk muscular control. It is also vitally important to alter a person’s habits. What someone does day in and day out including how they sit, how they stand, how they sleep, what they eat, or whether or not they smoke all play a role in how fast someone heals. By bringing these factors to light individuals are able to see what the contributions of their daily habits are to their overall healing. The person is then able to choose what is done in an effort to optimize healing. A fourth component is hands-on or manual therapy. This is one of the most vital components in healing. Most research shows that a combination of manual therapy, exercise and postural changes make the biggest difference in optimizing healing. Hands-on treatment can be anything from soft tissue mobilization for swelling, manual stretching of the joint, joint manipulation and mobilization of scar or stiff connective tissue you. Other things may include hands on guided movement of a joint through a range of motion. Often times the joint has pain with motion when used in a normal manner, but when a particular force is imparted into it a pain pattern changes or goes away.

Simply put, when tissue is placed in an optimum environment it heals at the fastest rate possible. Things we do or don’t do take that tissue into or out of the optimum environment. The more we realize there are no magic bullets or secret techniques that only a few select people possess the more we will realize that healing is under our own control.

Your Physical Therapist

At Sawtooth Physical Therapy we have many repeat customers. We frequently see people that have not needed treatment for years, though they know that they can still come back. They return because of familiarity and the knowledge that the level of care they receive here is top notch. Everyone who has been treated at Sawtooth PT can always return, always call with a question or stop in and ask us to look at something. The more of these people we see, the more we contribute to a sense of community and shared experience at Sawtooth. We know you and feel comfortable with you. You should always feel the same way with us. I like to think that we can be providers of musculoskeletal assistance and advice for life. Please feel free to use us as such.

A Good Physical Therapist Starts with a Solid Foundation in Science

I drove by Home Depot the other day and wondered what it would be like to own all the tools in the store. A thought then hit me:  If I owned every tool in the store I still wouldn’t be a craftsman.  I began to think about healthcare professionals who have or say that they have every technique, device or tool in the world.  They acquire every new thing that comes around.  Are they really craftsmen? Do they have the ability to use those tools?  Do they have a sense of the tissue and what is the right application of force, technique, etc.

I was taught a long time ago when working with tools to master the simplest tools first and then progressively move on to more complex tools.  I believe that having a solid foundation in science and evidence-based practice is the first essential step to becoming good as a physical therapist. It is not stuffing your belt full of every tool under the sun. It is about mastering the tools you have.

When I go to a course I tend to find that I learned one or two essential things that help me in my practice. I rarely find the one thing that revolutionizes my practice. I do question others who, every six months, come up with the latest and greatest intervention.  Is it really better? What happened to the old “greatest thing”? Is it marketing or is it the truth? I think these are questions that we need to ask ourselves any time we’re about to embark on something, whether it is having a bookcase built, having your car worked on or getting something done with our body.  Is the person we see a craftsman or a tool collector?