Tell us about your experience at Advance Physical Therapy (APT) and how your function has improved since beginning physical therapy.
My reason for coming to APT was to address a mild scoliosis. While not debilitating or the source of intractable pain, it has contributed to severe muscle tension throughout my shoulders and neck, and it affects my breathing and posture. I have had a great deal of body work through the years which has helped me deal with the muscle tension. However, the benefits of having someone else work on you, no matter how skillful, are always temporary and have not given me tools to deal with the tension on my own. When I saw that APT offered a specific program for scoliosis, I decided to try it. At 73, I did not expect to correct the scoliosis completely, but I wanted a proactive approach that I could participate in and learn how to minimize tension, improve my breathing, and improve my posture. I got what I came for.
I am a retired physical therapist, and I knew that there had to be some way to work with my physical problems. I also felt that I should be able to figure it out on my own, but after years of trying, I had about given up. What I’ve learned at APT is in many ways counter intuitive and actually contradicts some of what I had been taught and how I had practiced for years.
Like many, I “know all about” core strength, and have “taught” it for years as a physical therapist and a yoga teacher, and have tried to engage my core strength in Pilates and other exercise classes. What I have learned is that building core strength, at least for me, is a lot more complicated than I realized. I learned that I really didn’t know how to access the muscles I needed. Since I hadn’t been using them, of course they were weak. First I had to learn a new way of breathing. I had been over using my neck and upper shoulder muscles and under using my trunk muscles. I have improved my breathing and have moved on to strengthening my trunk muscles in a very specific program designed to address my individual problems; no “one size fits all” at APT. My home exercise program challenges me, requires perseverance and mindfulness, and it is definitely helping my breathing, my posture, my strength, and my muscle tension, not to mention my general outlook. After years of searching, I finally have found specific things I can do to improve the way I feel. Don’t come to APT if you don’t want to do your part in achieving health and well-being. You are expected to pull your share of the load after learning how to do that.
How has APT helped you the most?
Probably the single most valuable lesson I’ve learned is a validation and reinforcement of what I already knew: never give up when your intuition tells you there is a solution. If you’re willing to work at it, you can achieve your goals. Bob Marley is right!
How is APT different from other experiences you have had in physical therapy?
My point of view is probably different from most clients of APT. This is my first experience of receiving physical therapy. As a physical therapist, I have practiced in various settings: in a hospital, in two outpatient clinics, and as a home health provider. One of the primary reasons I retired from the profession was because of my frustration in dealing with an overload of paperwork and an increasing emphasis on productivity to what I felt was the detriment of patients. Although all of my colleagues and I wanted to provide the best care possible, the schedule demands sometimes made it difficult to devote enough individual time to each patient.
I was astonished that my first few appointments at APT were 2 hours long and my therapist devoted every minute to taking my history, evaluating, treating, and developing a home exercise program tailored to me. Together we have modified my exercise program as needed. We have an ongoing collaboration to help me achieve my goals.
The atmosphere at APT is calm, welcoming, and personal. Patient care and outcome are the guiding principles. My therapist is well trained, very experienced and knowledgeable, compassionate, and interested in empowering me to solve my problems. This is not a PT factory, there are no “cook book” treatments, and I’ve never seen a hot pack, ice pack or ultrasound machine. I am very happy and satisfied with my entire experience.