Saturday, September 27, 2014

Going to PT or going it alone with your rehab?

The Thinking Face

So... I recently received a message from a friend about a friend of his. His request was rather simple: His friend suffered a horrific injury and after surgical repair, she needed to start PT. Unfortunately for her, she doesn't have insurance that would cover her physical therapy.

Hmmm... Well a very nice discussion for another time, about why someone would not be covered for PT, but for right now the dilemma is what to do. What to do indeed?

Well she doesn't live here in Buffalo, so I can't take her on as a charity case. I don't know anyone in her town that I could ask to do that either. The absence of care, or no advice at all and her function could be compromised for a lifetime. Clearly, the request cannot be ignored.

Some of my options would include creating a written home exercise program. I could try to create video direction for some therapeutic exercises and try weekly communication on her condition. It would be far from perfect, but better than nothing, correct?

One thing that is for certain: Going your rehab alone comes with some pretty severe risks, unless you just don't care about how you function in the future. A few than come to mind rather easily:

  1. Unrelenting, chronic pain: This is the type of pain that can bother a person even at rest. The sort of pain that can alter mood and judgement. Many times this can manifest itself into psycho-social problems like anxiety and depression. This not only can affect the patient, but also people who interact with them like, family friends and co-workers.
  2. Habitual drug usage: This often goes along with point number one. Often times, the pain can be too much for a person to bear, so they are aided by medications to reduce or relieve their pain. Unfortunately, these medications do nothing about the actual problem causing the pain. Many times they allow for movement that creates further injury and even more pain. Many of these medications are addictive and can lead to even bigger drug problems. There are plenty of stories for people with ruined lives that started with this sort of scenario.
  3. Dramatic (and unnecessary) Loss of Function: Most injuries when treated effectively will resolve with a return to your previous level of function. Many people even return to a higher level of function, since their rehab fixed other problems they were not aware of. Frequently we have patients who returned to a much higher level of performance after even a severe injury. However, the opposite can happen, (even with a minor injury) when proper rehabilitation is absent. This results in only having memories of function: "I used to be able to..."
  4. Spiraling decrease in overall health: We all know that proper movement goes along with a healthy lifestyle. Proper diet and exercise have been proven to offer us bother longer and more useful lives. When you cannot move well, or have pain with movement, it can be hard to stay healthy. Think about all the awesome things you want to do with your life. Every one of those things starts with having your health and being lively.
That was just a quick 4 reasons off the top of my head. There are plenty more reasons to treat your rehabilitation from an injury VERY seriously.

Now back to our young lady with the very serious problem and clearly a very serious need...

Clearly, I will NOT be able provide the care she needs, but I can also provide more help than NOTHING.

In my next few posts we'll see what we can provided and see how this whole thing turns out.

Hopefully, you're all having healthy days;