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Why We're Thankful for Physical Therapy: 9 Real Patient Stories

We're thankful for physical therapy. Check out these nine patient stories that show why we're thankful for physical therapists.

Kylie McKee
5 min read
November 27, 2019
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This time of year can be, well, complicated. Whether you’re scrambling to finish up your end-of-year goals, planning your work around vacations and holidays, or orchestrating a family get-together, ’tis the season for stress. But, amidst the chaos, there’s so much to be thankful for—and that’s something that’s certainly not lost on physical therapy patients. So, this Thanksgiving, we’re serving up a big helping of gratitude (hold the gravy) for physical therapists and the impact they’ve had on our lives. Check out our collection real PT patient stories below:

Spooner Physical Therapy

“Two years ago I had a beautiful baby boy. I knew that having a baby would really change my body, but my doctor didn't talk much about the recovery process afterward. For the last two years, I've been dealing with diastasis recti, which is the separation of your abdominis muscles that allows for your body to accommodate a growing baby. This separation is totally natural and affects nearly 50% of mamas. 

As a result, I stopped working out; I was overly cautious with my day-to-day movements, because I was scared about injuring myself further—but I expected that my body would just fix itself. This severely limited my regular activities (no more rock climbing, I didn't sign up for soccer, and there was no way in hell I felt like I could ever take another bootcamp class at the gym again). In addition to not being able to do the things I loved, I was also scared that as my son got heavier I would increasingly strain that gap in my abdomen more and more as he grew. I got pretty depressed about it, to be honest, and I didn't feel like I would ever make any progress.

Luckily, I work for a company that promotes rehabilitation through physical therapy, and I found a physical therapist to help me restrengthen my core. In only three visits, she told me that I had made incredible progress, and that if I'd come in that day for the first time, she wouldn't be concerned with my diastasis at all because I was functionally normal.

I'm still going to PT today because I have a little way to go, but I now see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that I'll be able to regain the strength that I once had. And I have my physical therapist to thank for that.”

“When you first have a baby, you assume all the aches and pains are normal, but then the months pass and you get fed up with feeling broken. Such was my plight when I sought out pelvic therapy. At first, I downplayed everything ailing me, but my therapist was so empathetic, intelligent, and communicative that I quickly established a strong level of trust with her. She not only fixed the hip pain and postural issues plaguing me, but also helped me feel like myself again.”

“I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel last year and started going to physical therapy. The people there were very cool and helped me learn exercises that really helped reduce the pain and discomfort in my hands. It’s awesome to consider how I started out thinking I might end up having to stop using keyboards—[and now I] hardly notice any discomfort.”

“My experience during my current PT has been amazing. My therapist, Brad, was able to identify that, even though I have low back pain, the root cause maybe my hips/pelvis. After years of living with an uneven pelvis, Brad was able to make a quick adjustment that I have been able to maintain and has alleviated a ton of pressure. In addition to in-clinic services, Brad provided a simple starter HEP that is paired with a printout, emailed videos, and an app to update and message the clinic if needed. Outside of the therapy itself, the front office staff, technicians, and other therapists are so kind and courteous.”

Endurance Rehab

“I have seen physical therapists on and off for years, but I just recently had one of my best PT experiences. My therapist specialized in treating long-distance runners, so he was immediately familiar with the majority of injuries I had experienced over the previous decade, and he used my history in conjunction with the recent symptoms I was experiencing to formulate a diagnosis no other healthcare provider had even considered. Due to his depth of knowledge and expertise, though, I totally trusted what he was telling me, and I followed his treatment plan to the letter.

By the time I was finished with my care plan, I had never felt stronger (even compared to my college athletics days). Running is such a huge part of my life; I honestly don't feel like myself when I can't get in my daily run. This is why injuries are so incredibly frustrating—and why I'm so incredibly thankful for a therapist who was able to help me finally solve my chronic injury issues.”

Desert Hand Therapy

“Overall my experience was great! Front office staff, PTAs, and the PT were very helpful and friendly. The staff were open and honest with treatment. They set goals and timelines for my therapy and made sure I stayed on track. I looked forward to my appointments, and at the end of my treatment, I was functioning at 100%!”

Orthopedic Sports Therapy

“I originally went to PT because I had excruciating forearm pain. Gripping anything was horribly painful, and I couldn't work on my laptop without extreme pain. When I went to get help from a PT, my PT almost immediately discovered that I actually had a neck injury. I had messed up my neck during a fall and pinched my nerves, which caused a sharp pain to cascade down my arm. My PT worked on my neck for a few months and, despite a doctor telling me I'd have nerve pain for the rest of my life, I'm now completely pain-free!”

Jarrett Orthopaedic Rehab

“I started at Jarrett in October of 2018 with significant back and hip pain. I was unable to ride my bike for more than 30 minutes without extreme pain. Working with my therapist, I was able to build a plan that got me riding long distances within two months almost completely pain-free. The skill and caring that my therapist—and everyone in the office—demonstrated makes them, in my opinion, the best physical therapist I've ever been to.” 

Empower PT

“About two years ago, out of the blue, I started having a hard time walking. By the time I got home from work, I could not put any weight on my legs—nor could I walk. I literally crawled (barely) from my car to my house. The pain was unbearable. I went to my doctor and to a pain management doctor who discovered that my spine had several herniated disks. He wanted to do everything from injections to narcotics to surgery. I asked about PT and was told I could try it but that it was unlikely to be effective.

During the first three weeks, I could not stand without crutches and spent the majority of the time in a wheelchair; when I returned to work I was on crutches, and, after what seemed like forever, I started PT. They helped me get stronger and learn to walk. It was like my legs had forgotten what they were supposed to do. I could not walk for very long, and it was painful, so I would compensate for the pain. I was also impatient, so I would walk any way I could. I started to get comfortable walking like this, so then my therapist had to help me retrain the way I walked. After several months, I was completely away from the crutches and wheelchair. It has been almost two years, and now I can finally walk through the grocery store without help. (And most recently, I walked a full two miles!) I am thankful to my PT for helping me through this—and without narcotics.”

Apex Physical Therapy

“I literally hadn’t been able to bend my back, use my core, or lift anything over the weight of my chihuahua for three months after my spinal fusion. My PTs helped me get back to feeling comfortable and moving again. When I would get frustrated with how much strength I had lost, they encouraged me to keep trying and assured me that it would come back. Also, they’d always tell me how great I was doing, which kept me feeling positive. I had previously received therapy for my two microdiscectomies, but getting back after my fusion was super hard. I was so thankful to have a team walk me through getting back to my new normal.”

So, just in time for Turkey Day, hats off to physical therapists! We’re so grateful for everything you do.


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