Running has a way of bringing some of the simple things in life back into focus.
Last month, I finished my 11th 3M Half Marathon. It was a beautiful day to experience the joy of reaching another finish line. Far more important, however, are the lessons learned along the way to those finisher’s medals. You never know when those lessons will make an appearance or provide you with an epiphany of sorts.
I vividly remember one day in December, a day on which I had scheduled a routine long run in preparation for this event. I awoke to a temperature of 40 degrees and rain.
The phrases resound throughout the annals of social media regularly. Owning our profession. Disrupting PT. Solving PT. Transforming society. It all sounds great, doesn’t it?
As much as I agree wholeheartedly with the premise underlying all of these phrases, I fear that they are becoming nothing more than hollow words, platitudes upon which we hang our professional hats while our profession is defined by those outside the profession and not from within.
Physical therapists would probably agree that in a clinical environment, you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you run. The same applies to our professional woes.
Nothing of value comes easily. However, the ramifications of the failure to do so are even worse.
Some twenty-odd years ago, I stood outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, reflecting on the tragic events of April 4, 1968. I have looked out over the National Mall and Reflecting Pool from the Lincoln Memorial, imagining what it must have looked like on August 28, 1963. Fifty-two years later, his words still have the power to bring me to tears.
Today, we remember and honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his fight for civil rights and for freedom.
Many of us think of “civil rights” in terms of equality. But it is so much more than that for all of us, regardless of race or gender. In Texas, we hear a lot about property rights and the right to bear arms. But perhaps more importantly are those unalienable rights, those rights that we all share and the foundation upon which we all live, as noted in the Declaration of Independence.
Have you considered your health as one of those civil rights?
Welcome to 2015. Once again we find ourselves on January 1, the start of a new year, with a blank slate in front of us. It's that arbitrary date when you sit down and formulate plans for the year ahead and resolve to make any number of changes in your world.
With any luck, these resolutions won't fall by the wayside by week's end.
New Year's Day can also be a time for a ton of platitudes. We talk a big talk when the New Year arrives.
You'll undoubtedly throw lots of big ideas out there today, plenty of big hairy audacious goals for the upcoming year. Great resolutions lie ahead. But are you truly ready to make 2015 remarkable?
Physical therapy is a movement profession. We are undoubtedly the experts in movement, exercise, and function - and our professional training reflects this.
Subsequent to this, the vision of the American Physical Therapy Association is "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience". Let's take a moment to consider the meaning of this statement fully.
Since the dawn of mankind, an integral part of the human experience is function and movement. Neither of these are passive by definition.
In order to transform society, we need to focus on the active.
But there is a hypocrisy to be found deep within these words. If we are focusing on the active, then why do we continue to put such a heavy emphasis on passive interventions?
There are a myriad of common excuses that we can all find for not living the dream we so desire.
It is someone else's fault. I am unlucky.There is too much stress. I have too many exams coming up. I am not good enough.
But you know what? I hate to say it, but they are all just - excuses. More often than not, the real problem is simple.
Your own worst enemy is you. The best part, though, is that you are your own best friend and ally as well.
It is a question that I hear regularly when talking to clinicians and students: what do you do if MDT doesn't work?
The question usually causes me to shake my head and take a deep breath before venturing forth into a response. I wish I could say that it is only posed by those with little to no training in the method; however, I've heard this from more than a few MDT-credentialed clinicians over the years.
Let's start with the foundation for a response: MDT is not a treatment. It is a way of thinking.
Health care is chock full of a lot of telling. Telling the patient to do this or that. Telling the patient to not do something. There is a lot of telling going on around the health care world.
Health care has its share of intelligent people doing the telling. And I have no doubt that there are many that are telling patients a lot of good things.
But one problem exists. We mistakenly focus on adherence and compliance with all the telling and immediately assume that behavioral change goes right along with it. A faulty assumption, indeed.
There are certainly worse places to visit in October in Texas. A trip to Galveston for the Texas Physical Therapy Association's Annual Conference would be a nice break from preparing Anatomy practical exams for PT students, right? A little rest and relaxation - with a side order of walking along the Gulf Coast with the ocean and sand between my toes - would be welcomed.
Hold on, come back to the real world Allan. We're here for a conference, right?
Oh yes. The conference.
2014 was the 6th consecutive year that I have been invited to present at our Annual Conference. This year was the first time that I had a doubleheader: one session for the professional track ("The Role Of Social Media In Physical Therapy"), and one for the student track ("Form Follows Function: A Framework For Anatomy").
Without further adieu, here are a few thoughts from the experience.
It's all in the spin I suppose.
The headline was simple: "7 Myths About Physical Therapy". The press release from the American Physical Therapy Association was going to debunk some myths about physical therapy. How exciting, I thought.
Maybe this would set the record straight on any number of issues and misconceptions about our profession that exist in the public eye. Surely this would be a great opportunity for us to "Move Forward", yes?
And then, I read myth number one. It was, admittedly, hard for me to overlook.
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Allan Besselink, PT, Dip.MDT has a unique voice in the world of sport and health care, one that has been defined by his experiences as physiotherapist, mentor, McKenzie practitioner, coach, innovator, author, educator, patient, and athlete. Read more about Allan, contact him, get updates via email, or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.