Why I love being a Physical Therapist!
As a brand new student starting college, I had the world open to me in the ability to choose any direction I wanted my school work to go. This choosing of “what I want to be when I grow up” was at times very stressful and overwhelming. If I was going to spend the majority of my life in a profession, I didn’t want to mess up in choosing my profession.
One choice led to another, and soon enough I had chosen physical therapy as my desired profession. I am proud to say, that for me, I couldn’t be more happy with my decision to become a physical therapist.
So many people in this country wake up every morning wishing they could go back to bed because they dread going to work. Although I sometimes don’t want to leave the comfort of my own bed, it is not because I dread going into work. My favorite part of being a physical therapist is seeing patients get better and become more healthy. On a daily basis I see patients return back to their sport, go back to work, improve their hobbies, and live a full day without pain. The best part of this is that these patients I am helping are my friends.
Unlike most physician offices in which the patient returns anywhere from every month to 6 months, I see a patient on average of 1-3 times per week. This allows me to really get to know these patients, and form a connection with them by the time they are “graduating” from physical therapy. We recently helped a patient whose life was being affected by multiple migraines a day related to tension in her neck. In relieving these migraines, her whole world was opened back up again. These types of scenarios, and the many others in which we see patients overcome every day, is where the reward is for me.
Another reason why I love going to work is because every patient is a puzzle. A lot of times we will treat two patients with similar conditions, or injuries, entirely differently. This is because every individual person has a different make-up. Melissa wrote about knee pain last month in her blog. This a good example of how a patient is a puzzle when they come into the clinic. Possible origins for knee pain could be stemming from either the knee, the hip, or the ankle. This is my job as the physical therapist to put the puzzle pieces together, and to paint a picture of what is going on. The more experience I have gained as a physical therapist, the more fun it has been to dive into the puzzle in helping the patient understand the cause of their pains or limitations.
Recovering from an injury or surgery is not easy. This is why having a fun, but intimate
atmosphere is so important with physical therapy. We try our best to make the rehabilitation process as enjoyable as it can be. We also make sure in our clinic that we are approachable to the patient. This can help a patient through the struggles and frustrations that the recovery process can present.
I enjoy the relationships I have gained with the patients I have worked with over the years. Every year our clinic has an annual event in which we invite all present and past patients for a BBQ. This is one of my favorite times of the year, as I reconnect with those that I have become close with. I just want to thank Utah Physical Therapy, my family, my co-workers, and my patients for the opportunities I am having in the best job I could ask for. It is because of all of those around me that I enjoy going into work.
If you, or anyone around you is dealing with or having pain, please see your local physical therapist. They can help. They want to help. They enjoy helping you live a healthier life. Helping you is why I decided to go through the journey of becoming a physical therapist.
Justin Longhurst, DPT
Utah Physical Therapy, West Haven