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Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

Owning Your Physical Therapy

Abby Schenk 
July 2, 2020
Owning Your Physical Therapy

The single most important part of my job is helping individuals take ownership and develop self-efficacy in their recovery journey. Yes, reducing pain through hands on work matters. Improving functional strength matters. Improving patient’s awareness and perception of their pain matters. However, most importantly, one’s ability to execute actions to deal with their current dysfunction and or pain is self-fulfilling and longer lasting.

Physical Therapist are good at giving homework. We are good at making you think about movement, what dysfunctions are present in your movement, and what you can do better. We ask hard questions. We are discouraged with you when something happens to alter progress during the off days. We challenge you to take ownership in being better movers and staying disciplined on the path of recovery. Without asking those challenging questions or creating an environment that allows ownership in the process, the long-term recovery never happens.
As much as we would love to see out patient’s life long, the reward is when they have graduated to managing their own symptoms and dysfunction independently. We teach our patients new tricks to help when muscles get tight and discomfort sets in. We love even more when they come back and say it worked! We set realistic expectations that some pain is normal along the way but your mental attitude, discipline, and understanding of the symptoms will help you achieve success in recovery.

The most challenging part of developing self-efficacy is the investment. There is no quick fix, no magic potion, or pill that can make 20 years of gravity fighting dysfunction and movement disappear. Making overall health outcomes requires discipline, patience, attention, and time.
The commitment is not only to PT but to managing stress, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and creating good movement habits to offload the stressors of daily activities. Pain most certainly does not mean do not move or exercise. It is our role as healthcare providers to help you pick the right exercises or modifications to limit continued aggravation in the presence of pain. Good nutrition helps with recovery and decreases inflammation associated with pain. Poor sleep habits decrease one’s ability for performance, decreased time for recovery, and decreased mental focus.

1. Develop self-efficacy in your own recovery
2. Develop good daily structure to help you manage your time to achieve your goals
3. Have a PT or Coach direct you in exercises and rehab that allows progress in sight of pain or dysfunction
4. Promote good healthy nutrition and sleep habits
5. Do not rely on others to pave the way for your success rather use them to guide and mentor you to achieving success on your own

Abby Schenk
Meet the Author
Abby graduated with her doctorate in Physical Therapy from the St. Francis University in 2013. Since graduation she has been spending her time advancing her manual and professional skills through additional certifications. Her vision is to be able to offer elite services to her patients through spending quality one on one time in order to education, specify individualized therapy sessions, and make a greater long-term impact by creating adaptable changes. Her mission is to refine the physical therapy experience by creating a path of recovery unique to each and above the standard of care. Abby ran cross-country, track, and was on the high school swim team. She went on to run cross-country and track in college and was All- American, and captain. She loves working with the fitness athlete, the collegiate athlete, and the active adult population because she understands personally what it feels like to be both on the injury and recovery side. Abby understands life happens and the body gets tired of our daily poor movement habits, however her intention is to prevent injuries from interfering with your health and fitness goals. Her mission is to empower her patients to be their very best self and move freely without pain or restraints. The outcome is accelerated healing by providing the highest level of skilled services for each patient’s needs. Combining a patient’s dedication, higher level sport-specific conditioning, and movement re-training, the result will be the best you. Some of Abby’s advanced training includes: Rock tape and Certified Rock Blades Technique Specialist, Blood Flow Restriction Certified, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Myofascial Decompression, Myofascial Release, Pose Certified Running Technique Specialist, amongst other advanced education.