Am I healed or cured?

Healing the body is a natural phenomenon. We can influence how well we heal as well as how quickly we heal.  Curing a problem is different. Here’s an example I see advertised online and in PT clinics that can be misleading. “Do you want to cure Back pain?” Of course, me too. But what does that really mean?  Can you really cure back pain? 

A cure is a solution to a problem in the body such as an injury, disease or illness. Once there is a cure, the problem does not return. If we look at curing aches and pains in the body, the results from a treatment may be temporary and can never say for sure that those aches and pains won’t come back. Take a look at the history of physical therapy as the profession, which odeveloped its reputation in the U.S. during the Polio epidemic.

The Poliomyelitis virus cause disease that weakens the muscles of the body. In the early 1900’s, the polio epidemic caused many people to have weak leg muscles that lead to trouble walking. Remember President Teddy Roosevelt? He avoided standing during public appearances because his legs were too weak to stand. He hid this by using leaning on others and strategically having places to lean or hold without drawing attention.

Some people were affected so much from the progressive muscle wasting that their diaphragm muscle would no longer work in order to breathe. That is when the iron lung was created to support lung function and prevent death. Physical therapy helped in the cases where people needed to regain muscle strength throughout the body, learn how to walk again, and train with adaptive equipment. The profession gave people with Polio hope that there could still be a quality of life.

What cured polio for many? A vaccine that was developed by Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin. If you had polio then getting the vaccine would take it away so it would never come back. That’s a cure. It is also used today to prevent the recurrence and spread of polio which the world is nearly cured of. The damage it caused, however was not reversible. The epidemic created a population that we still may come across in the PT clinic to help with the lingering affects after the vaccine was administered. This condition is called Post-Polio syndrome.

Returning to our back pain example, what is the cure that 8 out of 10 people are looking for? Unfortunately it is not something that we can stick under a microscope and figure out a pill to take care of it. Our backs have many structures that can cause pain. To say to one person with a muscle stain “do the same thing for the back as someone with a herniated disc” doesn’t make sense.So, if I created a book for you to read about treating your back pain there would be a disclaimer saying “results vary and consult a back pain specialist to improve your chances of improving”.

Healing your back pain is more likely a possible scenario by learning what is best for your own back problem. It’s more personalized than your favorite social media home page. The body is always adjusting and settling which makes a “moving target” of sorts for curing physical injuries. Healing is part of understanding the problem from a perspective that makes sense to you being responsive by taking an active part in the moment to moment needs of your back. 

Custom physical therapy with My PT offers you a better chance at healing your back pain. There is more to healing back pain than bending your knees when lifting and doing a couple of stretches. Learn the truth about why your back hurts you by scheduling a custom physical therapy session with My PT. 

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