When we overstep our abilities to heal, when we ignore the warning signs our bodies are desperately sending us, when we do not allow the appropriate time our bodies need to recover we create injury.
What is a Physical Therapist?
By Joe Ford PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS
The human body is in a constant state of change. Whether this is breaking down old tissue or building new tissue we are built to repair, renew, and rejuvenate. The way in which this happens is known as the SAID (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands) principle. Stress on the body can do two things; stimulate it to grow stronger and be more resilient, or, when too chronic or too high an initial dose, break us down past our healing capabilities and create an injury. The ability to heal from any stress is dependent on many factors both known and unknown. Diet, previous level of fitness, current level of fitness, medications, other stresses the body is dealing with, illness, genetics, the list goes on and on. Each individual’s capacity to heal is shaped by the physiology that they were given at birth and have shaped throughout their lives. When we overstep our abilities to heal, when we ignore the warning signs our bodies are desperately sending us, when we do not allow the appropriate time our bodies need to recover we create injury. And when the injury is to your muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and does not require surgery that is where I come in. I’m your local Physical Therapist.
I hate the term “fix”. I don’t “fix” your problem. A surgeon fixes things. They are drilling, cutting, sewing, gluing, lasering, removing, reattaching, and putting you back together. In the musculoskeletal world of health care, a Physical Therapist is desperately trying to create an environment for your body to heal itself. We are facilitators of your physiological ecosystem. Our greatest weapon in this fight is the SAID principle. I’m in charge of figuring out what “Imposed Demands” your body needs to begin to heal. The art of my profession is in figuring out what the individual both needs and can tolerate based on all the factors of their healing abilities.
The treatment choice each Therapist uses may be different. Personally, I use my hands and exercise more than anything, but others may use various machines, tools, lotions, potions, or whatever else they feel will create the best healing environment for you. And we will address your aching shoulder, bad knees, pinchy hip, trick ankle, and anything else that ails your physical world but we will also address the joints/muscles/nerves above and below the area, your cardiovascular system, posture, and stress levels. We will discuss such riveting topics as diet, how long you sit and why you shouldn’t sit for that long plus much more.
So what is a Physical Therapist? According to the American Physical Therapy Association a Physical Therapist is a licensed health care professional who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. In my opinion we are cultivators of knowledge about an individual as a person and their injury and in doing so are attempting to understand what chain reaction caused the injury, why your body struggles with healing, and what we can do to create a healing environment so your body can perform its natural function as a self-healing entity. The human body is an amazing, resilient structure. But sometimes it needs a little help. When that is the case, I’m happy to be there to lend a hand.
Joe Ford PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, OCS
Sports Physical Therapists