Turning Point Stories
*Names have been changes according to HIPPA policies
Gary, 76 years old, three months after his low back surgery, began physical therapy with a high pain level. Laser, soft tissue work, and ultrasound would temporarily relieve his pain, but days later it would be back. At the beginning of each appointment when questioned about his home therapy program, it was evident that Gary seldom completed his homework.
Gary would come into therapy and decline to complete slightly strenuous activities to increase his strength and balance because it would cause muscle soreness the next day. Despondent with therapy, as his numbers declined since his initial evaluation, Gary subsequently discharged himself.
So, what happened with therapy? Why did Gary decline?
Twenty years ago, patients attended physical therapy treatment sessions for 60 minutes five days a week. Nowadays, patients only attend physical two days a week anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes per treatment session. As therapists, we rely on the patient taking some responsibility to complete the home program, so on physical therapy days we can focus on treatment or exercises that can only be completed in the clinic.
Also, remember, Gary was 76 years old. It takes hard work to maintain status quo, but, older patients must work twice as hard to increase strength, endurance, and balance.