Injuries: When to Say When

It’s always fun to meet a physical therapist (PT) at a party and ask them all the nagging questions that have been building up over the years. Since October is National Physical Therapy month — cheers! — we decided that rather than wait for you to happen upon a PT, we’d bring one to you.

Gigi Weiss, MSPT, is the Director of Rehabilitation at RVNAhealth, managing both in-home therapy services as well as Rehab by RVNAhealth, our outpatient center in Ridgefield. Weiss is also a licensed physical therapist and no stranger to receiving PT questions at parties and elsewhere.

Two of the most common questions Weiss and her colleagues hear have to do with timing: “When do I know it’s time to have surgery? and “How do I know when it’s time to treat an injury?”  And while there is no one easy answer to either question, it generally comes down to pain.

“Pain is a sign that something is wrong. And when you have pain, it’s important to address it before it creates new problems,” says Weiss.

“When surgery has been recommended to address a condition, you want to be certain it’s the right choice and timing for you. When your pain is compromising the quality of your life — mobility, sleep, comfort — it’s time to take care of it. Physical therapy can often buy you time and help reduce discomfort prior to surgery, but waiting too long can cause compensatory injuries and can reduce your strength, making recovery longer.”

Regarding injuries, Weiss says that any injury or pain that’s with you for more than a few days should be assessed. What is it? Why did it happen? How can it be treated? How can it be prevented in future? These questions are all part of an evaluation (frequently covered by insurance) that aims to identify and treat the root cause, not the symptoms.  “The sooner you do that,” says Weiss, “the better.”

To learn more or ask follow-up questions, please contact RVNAhealth at 203-438-5555.

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