I would like to share my patient success story with the community and whomever reads the CPA's publications to illustrate the value of what we offer and how a quick-to-adapt professional helped someone to recover from their injury and potentially saved her from significant hardship.
I have changed the name of the patient and some identifying details for privacy.
Let's say her name was Erin. She contacted me one day, after I launched my virtual physiotherapy practice. She had suffered an elbow dislocation in the US for which she was casted and immobilized for eight weeks. It was supposed to have been only three weeks, but upon her return to Canada she was not able to see an orthopaedic surgeon in time to advise her to remove it.
She finally did go see a surgeon at around the eight-week mark, who removed the cast and advised her to get aggressive physiotherapy before her elbow became stuck permanently. Erin attended two session at a physiotherapy clinic in Toronto before the pandemic hit and she was unable to continue due to the clinic’s closure.
Erin had high levels of pain and functional limitation, including difficulty dressing, bathing, and reaching. She reached out to her family doctor, desperate for a physiotherapist or someone who could help give her some relief, as the medications she was prescribed were no longer working. Somehow, even though I just started my own website, I came up on a Google search that her family doctor ran.
She got in touch with me and we started working together the next day. I am partially trained in the McKenzie Method of MDT, which was instrumental in being able to guide Erin through a detailed assessment and lead her through a self-management program. I even recruited her boyfriend to help apply some mobilisations. I discovered that much of the pain in her arm was caused by a pre-existing neck problem, and we were able to resolve that rather quickly. This allowed her to progress her elbow exercises more effectively as well. The McKenzie Method is an active rehabilitation system that emphasizes self-management and the application of patient-generated force and movements to create lasting, positive changes in symptoms.
It has been three weeks now, and I am happy to report that her pain levels are almost zero and her range of motion has been steadily improving. Having Erin and her boyfriend perform the exercises at home as often as they have been, rather than two or three times in the clinic with me, is the reason for her incredible success. I would argue that it may have been even more effective than in-clinic visits!
No doubt, without continued therapy, Erin would have had long-term and potentially permanent changes to her elbow. Furthermore, the economic cost to her not being able to work due to her extended disability demonstrates the hidden benefits to society that physiotherapists play every day.
This story highlights the adaptable role that physiotherapists like myself play in the health care system, and how some quick-thinking, and possibly some of my pre-existing web design skills, came in handy to help someone recover their function.
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