Joint pain, spine pain, stomach pain, sciatica, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, cancer pain—the list grows longer as folks age. I often wonder what makes my patients “give up” because of the pain. I wonder what it means to “give up,” what it is they are “giving up,” and what evils lie beneath that prevent them from experiencing a good day of get up and go. To answer these questions we need to first understand some key definitions.
|Even though hand and wrist pain may slow you down, you can still remain active.|
This occurs when patients throw up their hands over things out of their control. They become frustrated to the point they stop all pursuits. The causes of their frustration may include minor disabilities, chronic aches and pains, systemic diseases, and a long list of conditions that create impairments.
Because of the “evils” that prevent many individuals from taking care of themselves, there is an exchange of items, or “give ups.” These include independence, function, a free mind, comforts of life, communications with others, meaningful relationships.
What are the evils of exercise?
Patients who have joint pain may struggle to maintain independence. For these individuals strengthening large muscle mass while protecting joints is critical. Strategic strengthening of larger muscle groups around joint pain, performed with purposeful functional strategies, offers the greatest return. For example, strengthening the larger back muscles requires some pulling activities of the arms, such as lat pulldowns or a seated row. For individuals who have degenerative arthritis of the wrist, this may be difficult and painful to perform. A bad evil for patients who have degenerative arthritis of the wrist is push ups, a good evil is therapy band presses performed supine, with the bands wrapped around the wrist.
Physical therapists are enablers. They are creative by nature and training, and the health care providers best suited to help those with joint pain exercise safely and maintain independence. Helping patients understand good evils and bad evils can help them sustain an effective exercise strategy, and avoid “giving up” the treasures of independence and functional ability.
Robert Babb, PT, MBA, is owner and a practicing physical therapist at the Physical Therapy & Wellness Institute (www.ptwinstitute.com). Robert can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org