The Ministry of Physical Therapy

Since last March, I’ve been employed by DISH Network as a technician, training developer, and now the OJT (on-the-job) trainer for new technicians. I do this four days a week. Among other vocations, electronics has been a huge part of my life. Anyway, back on September 29, 2007, I injured my right leg, tearing my calf muscle and the tendon where it attaches. It’s been pretty painful, but it’s on the mend. A couple of weeks ago, the orthopedist referred me to a physical therapy provider and I began a course of therapy. I’ve been fortunate in that my therapist is one of the sports trainers for the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team located at Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino.Today while I was laying on a training table as my therapist massaged my leg, I asked him if there was a specific process for physical therapy. There had to be, I thought. Surely, it seemed that there was some kind of underlying logic to the way they were treating me. And whatever it was, it seemed to be working.He replied that there was a procedure they followed for every patient. Of course, every patient has different needs and conditions, but the process for wellness was the same.As I laid there I began to question whether I could analyze and figure out what that process was. Now mind you, I love to figure out processes. It’s fun and rewarding. So here’s what I discovered.Anyone who has visited (that’s an appropriate word) medical professional has probably spent at least ten or more minutes filling out all kinds of paperwork that lets the staff know some pretty important stuff. Name, address, phone number, social… Then there’s medical history. When you get to be my age, with my health, it’s the size of a good novel. Anyway, they need to know who they have in front of them. That’s where it all begins. Knowing who you are. Of course depending on what kind of visit your having will determine “how well” they’ll get to know you. Latex gloves scare me!So that’s the first step. Finding out who you are. The next step is actually part of the first and contains two related subcategories. We call this part of the process the “assessment” step. Assessment includes two parts. First there is an examination of the patient to determine the actual or potential impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or other conditions of health there are. This is done by screening through the use of tests and measurements. Then from that there is an evaluation made from the results of the examination through analysis and synthesis within a process of clinical thinking. After the assessment is made then there is a diagnosis.Diagnosis results from the examination and evaluation and expresses the outcome of the process of clinical reasoning. This may be expressed in terms of movement dysfunction or may encompass categories of impairments, functional limitations, abilities/disabilities or syndromes. Once the diagnosis is made then a plan of treatment is devised.Planning begins with determination of the need for intervention and normally leads to the development of a plan of intervention, including measurable outcome goals agreed to by the patient/client, family or care giver. It may be that this leads to a referral to another agency.Intervention is where you actually do something. It is where the plan is implemented and modified to reach agreed upon goals and may include many different kinds of physical handling, movement enhancements, massages, and all the other stuff that is implemented during the course of a therapy session. In addition to all the physical manipulations, it is also necessary to encourage the patient on any progress made. Intervention may also be aimed at prevention of impairments, functional limitations, disability and injuries including the promotion and maintenance of health, quality of life, and physical fitness. After the intervention is implemented it is time to assess how we are doing. This is called evaluation.Evaluation requires a re-examination of our condition for the purpose of evaluating outcomes. This is where we determine our progress and make adjustments to our program of intervention, if necessary. If everything goes right, you’ll back to “normal.”There it is: Assessment, Diagnosis, Planning, Intervention, and Evaluation. As I thought about these steps toward wellness, I saw clearly how they could be applied physically, emotionally, spiritually, and even, financially.When I was growing up, we used to sing a song in church a lot that prayerfully asked, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart, I pray.” Well actually, God already knows our heart, and if anything, we need to know our heart too. That’s assessment. Unfortunately, I often see people skipping this part. They kinda want to get in tune with themselves, or as we did in the 60’s and 70’s, find ourselves, but I’ve often seen this approach as a means to protect oneself from bad feelings and to find some means of escape. The difference with real assessment is you lay it all on the table. You’re all in with nothing to hide. It’s a scary place for sure, but you’ll discover that you can’t hide from yourself and it’s best to really stop trying to hide.When you get to the part where you have seen who you are and understand what you need and fear, then you can now begin to see what motivates your conscious and subconscious thoughts and their corresponding actions. This is the diagnosis part. It’s the effect of the cause (which is who you are). It’s the visible part. It’s the doing part and the part where we can ask ourselves a simple question. “Why did I do what I did when I did it?” Fairly simple, right? Here’s where we can continue a course of honesty and confession which is the real beginning of healing. A complete diagnosis of symptoms is invaluable. I know for a fact that my doctors can probably better prescribe treatment when they actually have some measurable symptom to assess. It would be crazy for you to go to a doctor and say to him/her, “I’m not going to tell you what hurts, feels bad, or if I am sick. You figure it out.” (Of course, if I had Dr. Gregory House as my doctor, he could diagnose me while playing his air guitar in hisliving room. Unfortunately, I can’t afford him, so I guess I’ll just keep on toughing it out while being poked and prodded like a voodoo doll). Whoops, I digress. At any rate, looking at our behavior, the expression of who we are on the inside, reveals a lot. It’s that point of revelation where you can choose to change the direction of your life. To truly change your life, you have to change your thinking. Mind renewal.They say in AA there’s only one thing you ‘ve got to change in your life. Everything! What’s great about the Word of God is that it gives you a way to change your whole way of thinking, and hence, your life and future. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that we need to renew our minds. By renewing your mind, you lay hold to new attitudes, goals, ideals, opinions, desires, and ideas. So how do you do it? Renew your mind, that is. Well, you make a new mind the way you made the old one. This comes when you put new thoughts/words into your noggin and reject thoughts that are not consistent with God’s thoughts and His ways. Sounds tough doesn’t it? It could be. It’s like learning a new language.Think about the power of words. You can’t put them in a jar or basket or any container. Sure, you can write them down, but until they resonate in your mind and are stored there, and have meaning, they don’t really have much effect. As you begin to learn a new language you learn individual words, then phrases, then sentences, and so on. It’s a step-by-step process. Like physical therapy, it’s a program that takes time and discipline. This is the intervention phase of recovery. It takes working the plan. Consistency and discipline is what gets you to your goal. If you need help, and you will, get with someone in the Body of Christ that will mentor or disciple you. They will help train you. No one is going to force you to go to therapy and no one will force you to change. But when you submit to the working the plan, you get results.The last step is evaluation and this is very important. If we don’t periodically check ourselves out, there’s a pretty good chance we could be doing the wrong thing and run into further trouble. It’s easy to fall into bad habits or routines that are not productive. There needs to be periodic change. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Life isn’t on autopilot. It’s up to you to steer your boat and ask God to navigate through the waters of life. He will not let you wreck yourself on the shoals if you let him direct you.Muscle Man

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