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Jan 17, 2024

Have you done your squats?

Physical Therapy Matters

I’ve tried Physical Therapy.  I’ve tried acupuncture.  I’ve tried a spinal doctor.  I’ve tried getting massages every week.  I’ve tried surgery.  I’ve tried a chiropractor.

I’m still in pain.

Does this sound like your story or someone you know and their story?

Finding a good Physical Therapist is a big part of your healing success.

I have experienced a few of these scenarios and until I found the right Physical Therapist, this, too, was my story.  I had been to two different Physical Therapists, and to no avail, did not experience any pain relief.  I was giving them my co-pay every visit, but still was awakening with pain and could not enjoy my normal active routine.

Sound familiar?

The aim of physical therapy should be to relieve pain, help you move better and strengthen weakened muscles.  Another important goal is to show patients what they can do themselves to improve their own health, their mobility, and to return to their activities that have been reduced or limited due to pain or lessened mobility.

After two failed attempts in trying to find a Physical Therapist that was right for me, and would help me find pain relief, and after listening to many friends say “Try this, try that”, I made an appointment to see an Orthopedic Surgeon and was referred from that office to physical therapy yet again.  This was my third referral.  I immediately became filled with anxiety thinking this would just be a waste of time because previous physical therapy visits did not help.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This Physical Therapist was different.  I sensed this time my journey would be different when India asked me one question that stood out to me during my initial visit:  “What are your goals?  What would you like to be able to do once you complete your care here with me?”

Mrs. India Kimbro McCray is the Clinic Director at Benchmark Physical Therapy in Fairburn, Georgia.

India received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Florida A&M University in 2018 and is also a Certified Athletic Trainer.  She received her certification from the University of Georgia.

India shares some of her philosophies and beliefs regarding physical therapy and her approach to patient care.

Question:  Why do you believe some patients who come to your office say they have not experienced any success or pain relief after attending physical therapy in the past from another therapist?

India:As a physical therapist, you have to know what your patient’s goals are.  You must lean into the patient.  Knowing what the patient needs.  What would serve them best?  What was their schedule before, their strengths, and what type of recreational activity were they used to participate in? 

What does work or home life look like?  I get to know the patient and a little about their personal life, their habits, and then begin to help them get back to normal life.”

Question:  What is the key to having a successful physical therapy journey?

India:  “There are several keys.  The first would be trust.  Trust your Physical Therapist that he or she has your best interest at heart.  Your Physical Therapist should also be able to trust you, as the patient to participate in home exercises as instructed.  There must be a “buy-in” from both parties.  Trust leads to both parties being more receptive to the care provider/patient relationship.  Both parties must communicate at all times.”

Question:  What are your 3 main goals for a physical therapy patient?

India:  “The three main reasonable goals are:

  • Return them to their normal physical, functional, and successful lifestyle.
  • Strive to make physical therapy an enjoyable experience.
  • Long-term goal – I never want a patient to have to return to physical therapy, but I want  to be trusted enough if the patient feels they need to return for a touch-up or individual session, they feel comfortable enough to do so.”

Question:  What should a patient leave with after physical therapy sessions to continue on a healing journey?

India:  “A successful Physical Therapist should have given the patient enough information and education about what is going on with their body to enhance their experience and healing.  The patient should leave with the trust that if a pain or ache arises,  they should be able to self-treat the pain.  I give the patient the tools for their toolbox to use further down the line.”

“Just like you interview for a job, you have to interview for your healthcare provider.”, India adds.

It may take a few visits to different providers to find the best fit for you.  Never be afraid to advocate for your healthcare.

India always reminds her patients that healing is never linear.

India leaves us with this:

As long as your valleys are never lower than your starting point, you’re still improving on the whole journey.”

By: Eden Barbee-Mabry / (@gardenonthegram – IG/ @EdenJBe – Twitter)
Eden Barbee-Mabry is an Education Support Analyst with the State of Georgia. Eden is a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, and was led to relocate to Atlanta, Georgia after graduating from Clark Atlanta University in 1988. Eden joined Black Girls Run! in the Spring of 2016 and graduated from the Walk B4 You Run program in June of 2016 and is currently Run Lead for the Fairburn, Georgia group. Eden is a purse lover and strives to inspire every woman because her belief is that although the circumstances may be different, every woman can extract strength from another woman’s story.