We have just experienced some of the coldest days ever here in the Michiana area. I hope you are all finding ways to stay warm and remain hopeful that we will see some warm sunny days soon. In this newsletter, I would like to address the unknowing damage that people sharing the story of their rotator cuff, knee, hip, and/or back surgery, may cause to those going through post-op physical therapy.
In my 36 years of trying to help people regain their motion, strength and function following surgery, I have learned that hope is an important part of a successful result. Post-op patients need to believe that all the painful work they are experiencing is necessary and will result in a more joyful life in the long run. Rehabbing from any surgery is a different journey for each one of us. No one truly knows how each person's genetics play a role in their healing process.
It is with this in mind, that I am asking everyone to think before sharing the story of your particular surgery to a friend or another person going through physical therapy. Saying things like, "I had that same surgery and was back to work, or skiing, or to my normal life activities so much faster and I had very little pain", does not help the person become more hopeful. It can actually diminish their hope and the drive to overcome the painful stretching and strengthening they need to reach their particular goals.
In my experience, most people saying these things have no true understanding of what complications could have occurred during that person's surgery. Despite popular belief, no two surgeries are alike. Your total knee replacement is not the same as my total knee replacement. Your back pain and/or surgery is not the same as my surgery. Everyone needs to realize this and be a little more sensitive to anyone else they know who has had a similar surgery.
The key to most people's success, following their surgery, is their rehabilitation and the importance of believing that they will regain their strength, motion and function. They need the hope and belief that all will be well, whether it takes a few weeks or a few months. They also need to know, at least weekly, objective measurements proving that with their hard work they are improving in their motion and strength. If any patient is in physical therapy, following surgery, and they are not being measured, at least weekly, for their improvement of motion, strength and daily function, they need to ask for this critical information. Success comes from knowing your goals and moving toward these goals on a weekly basis. Success comes with knowing you are achieving your goals and, in our clinic, celebrating your "graduation" after all your hard work.
Please remember, if you know a friend, relative or acquaintance, who has had surgery, to think before you speak. Try to say things that will help them be more hopeful during their challenging rehabilitation. Don't tell them your story, if it takes away from their hope. You may not think your words have an impact, but they can and do. Being hopeful is always the best way to address anyone undergoing physical or emotional challenges.
Thanks for thinking about the importance of hope, not only for more sunshine but in order to help others during their very challenging rehabilitation. If you are experiencing difficulty deciding whether or not you would be able to achieve what you had hoped following your surgery, please feel free to call and let us help you. Our culture is one of hope, and we are the only 30-year-old privately owned physical therapy clinic in our area.
Enjoy this challenging, but hopeful journey,