Therapy can make difference

Published 11:34 am Thursday, August 4, 2016

I‘ve been undergoing physical therapy as a result of a compression fracture, and my physical therapist (Amy) got a “deer in the headlights” look when I said I would be WRITING about physical therapy this week.

She needn’t have worried. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my sessions at the clinic and look forward to a full recovery. The workouts are certainly less strenuous than the unannounced Dr. Seuss “Hop On Pop” exercises my brother and I used to put our father through. (“No pain, no gain. Ooh, what’s that stain?”)

True, being on the honor system and having to keep up my exercises at home has been more of a challenge. There are so many rationalizations for slacking off on the regimen. No telling how many patients slink into their sessions with a calculated confession of “I was going to do my exercises, but I spent two hours on DENTAL FLOSSING. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

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According to Wikipedia, Hippocrates was one of the first practitioners of physical therapy (or physiotherapy); around 460 B.C. he was advocating massage, manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to his patients. That means any day now, the insurance company should be approving their treatment.

Not everyone is a fan of physiotherapy. Part of it comes from scapegoating. You know how you think you recognize someone in a crowd and then realize your mistake in the middle of waving at them? A Gallup survey indicates that the top pride-saving maneuver is to mutter, “I swear, stranger —- can you believe the idiotic exercises my physiotherapist has me doing?”

One preacher told me that he didn’t have a physical therapist —- he had a “physical terrorist.” Yes, some physiotherapists need help with their bedside manner. The clinic I go to has all sorts of upbeat homilies on the wall, but I’ve heard of a therapist in one city who greets patients with, “You look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, buddy. Here, let’s add another 20 pounds, maggot!”

Many people view physiotherapy as a necessary evil, but some shortsighted individuals don’t even admit the “necessary” part.

“Physiotherapy is stupid,” some jackasses scoff. Of course when you’re enough of an expert on stupidity to have jumped off a bridge in a four-wheeler, with cherry bombs strapped to your chest, you’re sort of ASKING for physiotherapy.

Some tough guys think that physiotherapy is unmanly, a procedure suitable only for wimps. Um, it’s not exactly macho to lie on the sidewalk whimpering, “Little girl, could you pick up that penny I dropped? And could you cover me with that discarded newspaper? I think it’s going to rain.”

A good physiotherapist can work wonders with restoring your mobility, but even they may not be able to help you with your UPWARD mobility. (“You majored in what??? And your resume lists Pokemon as a reference? Let’s work on your hitchhiking muscles today.”)

Whether you’ve been sick, injured or just dealing with the difficulties of aging, a good therapist can get you back to normal.

“Good! Now I can go back to lifting bales of cotton to make ‘Hamilton’ costumes for my 75 cats. And my wrist can handle writing those twice-daily letters to Justin Bieber…”

*Sigh* “Normal,” of course, may still include people who are a couple of rowing machines short of a royal navy, if you know what I mean.


Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”