Physical Therapy has helped patients with common day ailments and in dire situations to find answers other than pain medication. APTA’s #ChoosePT campaign at MoveForwardPT.com has been a major proponent of showcasing results of Physical Therapy. Net Health is proud to support the movement by speaking with PT patients and sharing their stories.
Greg Todd and Michael Anastasas of Renewal Rehabilitation gathered a group of real patients to share how PT helped them avoid, or eliminate, the need for pain medications.
Watch below to see how choosing PT impacted these patients.
Interested in more PT success stories? Watch more here:
#ChoosePT: Living an Active Life Without Pain Medication (We connected with Net Health client, Dr. Adam Eubanks, of Eclipse Physical Therapy and Sports Performance to meet a patient who after 11 surgeries finally found answers to his chronic pain through physical therapy.)
#ChoosePT: Choosing Physical Therapy for Safe Pain Management (We spoke with Physical Therapist Pat Sheehy, MS, PT from Cranberry Township, PA about how hands-on pain management supports a healthier population.) View Video Transcript
Many of our patients come to us from referring physicians and most of them are being referred with some kind of pain medication.
Physical therapy and the way that we do it here at Renewal Rehab has helped I would say 85% of our patients will be able to wean themselves away from being on pain meds. And to me, to be able to do that in a natural way, is nothing short of priceless.
I have an ongoing lower back problem with right side sciatica.
I started having some back pain. I’ve always been very active, exercise like five or six times a week.
I was in so much pain that it kind of redefined pain for me where now other pains don’t feel so bad anymore.
So I was the double knee replacement guy.
I tore my L5 S1 so the bottom of my spine, one of my discs.
I was a police officer for 27 years. And the course my duties, I sustained several injuries.
Because my grandchildren were … They’re younger and smaller than they are now. They’re now bigger than I am and I was having trouble picking them up.
So we have a lot of physicians that prescribe pain meds to our patients. And the common theme that I’m hearing from patients is that when they’re on pain meds, they don’t feel like their normal self.
Honestly, really didn’t like the way it made me feel. It made it very hard for me to function mentally and I needed to get back to work.
I’m not one of those guys that enjoys pain medicines. I don’t enjoy pills in general. They just make me feel funky.
I have two very active kids, so I’m constantly on the go and I can’t afford to be drowsy, laying around, and not being able to function.
For certain conditions and situations such as dislocating one’s knee to the point where it’s out of its socket and it tore everything, yes, it was needed.
In the early stages of recovery and physical therapy, I had to take them in order to do it. But the minute you can get off of them, the better.
I just saw that there was just a trend of referring patients to more medication, more medication.
Being on a medication for the rest of your life is something that’s not going to be ideal for optimizing your health.
The great thing about physical therapy is that we’re trying to get you off medication, trying to get your body to heal itself and trying to use the natural process of getting your flexibility, your strength, your range of motion, to get you off medication.
The biggest thing for me explaining to patients is that when you’re taking pain medications, a lot of it is temporary. So yes, there’s benefit where it may help with the pain relief, inflammation. But if your goal is to really return back to function, that’s when physical therapy comes into play.
Immediately after surgery, my pain level, I don’t even remember what it was. All I can tell you is by day two or three, it was about a four or five. And after my first or second week at physical therapy, I was down to basically no pain.
My pain level when I completed therapy, I would say it was at like one to two.
My first shoulder surgery, I didn’t do any physical therapy. And for over a year I had excruciating pain. I thought that … It almost felt like it wasn’t working. The pain was really bad for a solid year. 10 years later, I did my other shoulder and I did physical therapy. I thought it was a little bit crazy. It was very simple work, but in six weeks I was pain free.
For us, our philosophy is that we want to reach your goals. So if that goal is getting back to tennis, if it’s getting back to swimming, whatever it is for you that’s important, that’s what we want to help you do. And in order to do that, you got to move your body.
Now, some people want to be able to run in their first 5K, some people want to be able to pick up their grandkids, and some people just want to be able to participate in a mud run or something like that. But what I am seeing more and more over the 17 years that I’ve been doing this, is more people just want to be able to get away from pain medications. Because of the addictive nature that it has on them, because of the way that it’s affected their life and I’m finding that more and more that is what my treatments are tailored around. That’s the big goal.
So this is like a big issue for me. It’s something I really … Like my greatest successes are the patients that I’ve been able to help, not just eliminate pain, but eliminate their reliance on medications.
So you have to push yourself. You want to get to a point where you’re pain-free or you’re feeling better, you have to do a lot of it yourself. These guys give you the avenue to succeed. In order to do that, you have to inspire yourself to finish.
What I did find is that just the increase of flexibility that you gain from the physical therapy helped to alleviate the pain that I had.
But it’s great to walk out of here and walk straight. When I came here six weeks ago, I was kicked over to the right. I couldn’t straighten up. And I had a bad right side sciatica where I couldn’t walk 10 or 15 paces. Now I walk out of here, I’m standing straight. I feel so much better.
I had been told by other surgeons that I’d never regain my flexibility, my range of motion past 90 degrees. And over the course of a couple years, him and Dr. Craythorn working together were able to get me back to where I was. Just, see on the camera, all the way there.
But I like that it really educated me and it gave me, not only to come here and work out and try and strengthen and get better, but it allowed me to learn things so that I could do it on my own at home. And so it’s not just a quick fix thing. It’s something that, in the future, that I can continue to do on my own through what I’ve learned here.
As far as those injuries that I had, I am fairly pain-free. Obviously age sets in. You do develop little things now and then, but with the knowledge that I gained for the exercises related to it, I still do those on occasion. And that helps with the pains that set in.
In all honesty, Mike and his staff, they saved my life.
So I highly recommend physical therapy to anybody.
You have to push yourself. The more you push yourself, the less pain.
Physical therapy definitely allowed me to go back to the one and only thing I care about in life, which is horseback riding.
I feel great, if you want to put it that way and it’s therapy that’s doing it because I don’t take any medication for it. So.