From Physical Therapy Patient to Four Pines PT Employee… (Part II) – Four Pines Physical Therapy
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From Physical Therapy Patient to Four Pines PT Employee… (Part II)

Karen Backpacking

January 16,2019 we posted a Blog “Physical Therapy Patient to Four Pines PT Employee” about Karen’s journey from fear of movement due to chronic back pain to moving again! If you missed it you can read it here:

Here is Part II of Karen’s Journey – man has she come a far way baby!!

I recently saw an advertisement with a picture of a man backpacking in the woods with the headline “Getting Back Out There”. The caption noted the current customer satisfaction rate for spine surgery. I immediately felt the tagline resonated with my physical therapy and body re-education journey over the last year. Except without the surgical procedure because I didn’t have one.

Never one to choose surgery if it can be avoided, getting back out there meant getting my body back in shape to do that things I enjoy outdoors: gardening, kayaking, playing with my dog, fishing with my hubby, hiking, and trying running (a new activity).

It meant getting strong, setting goals, and learning the proper lifting and exercising techniques.

I discovered new exercises like running and weight lifting.

Most importantly, I began setting aside time to commit to this new and improved me.

From past blogs, you may know that I first came to Four Pines Physical Therapy as a patient and stayed on as their Chief Harassment Officer (Office Manager) at the Alpine clinic. When I arrived as a patient, I suffered from spinal stenosis that resulted in scoliosis and painful walking/standing. I found it difficult to stand or perform simple household activities. I was feeling very depressed and uncertain about my future.

After several months of physical therapy

I felt noticeable improvements and decided that it was time to meet my therapy goal of hiking into Bailey Lake for an overnight stay. I had set this goal for myself when I first came to therapy and felt, in the beginning, that I would never be able to attain that goal.

The last year and a half have been a challenge both physically and mentally. Physically, because my body needed to be retrained to do simple things, like walk and stand straight, and worked to tolerate new exercise and strengthen muscles I did not know I even had! Mentally, I was challenged to overcome pain, fear, doubt, and fatigue. However, by slowly building upon each treatment and workout I got stronger and more capable. At the urging of my therapist/co-worker,

I ran my first 5k race (Old Bill’s Fun Run), deadlifted 90 lbs., and hiked with a 31-pound pack on my back into Bailey Lake for an overnight.

I have met my goals and set new ones.

My Four Pines team has been with me all the way as cheerleaders, mentors, friends and co-workers.

Along the therapy and strength training path I have had set-backs which were not all expected, and somewhat discouraging. But, with the increased strength and endurance, it has made those moments easier to cope with, easier to manage and recover from.

No matter your injury or recovery, there will be set-backs in the healing process and you need to prepare for them so that you do not lose sight of your goals and all your hard work and investment in yourself. While I realize that working out, running, weightlifting and some other extreme forms of exercise may not be a good fit for all; there are always ways you can “get back out there”.

One way to do this is by treating yourself to physical therapy to retrain muscles, educate yourself, and relearn ways to do things you like to do.

Take small steps, short walks, do chair exercises, consult with your physical therapist for a home exercise program, go to the gym, hire a personal trainer, etc., whatever works for you. Build on these steps.

Injuries don’t always mean surgery, and injuries don’t always mean that you must give up the things that make you happy.

The Four Pines team is here to help your recover from injuries, help you set goals and obtain them.

Today I may not be the fastest person in the race, but I am still in the race! I’m “GETTING BACK OUT THERE” in a way that makes sense to me.

See you out there!

Karen Phillips

Karen Phillips

Karen works on the reception at our Alpine clinic. She helps people receive a positive and caring physical therapy experience while working with some terrific folks who care about the health of our community.
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