Today is Independence Day in the US, a day where we Americans celebrate the birth of our great country. Many of us will gather with family and friends at a barbeque and settle in this evening to watch a fireworks display.
So what does independence mean in physical therapy terms? If you are attending physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction or functional mobility problem, one of your goals may be to regain independent mobility. Independence with mobility, like bed mobility, transfers from sitting to standing, or walking, means that you can perform the task with no help from another person. If you require an assistive device, like a walker or a cane, you can use it for mobility and still be considered independent.
Independence in physical therapy can also take on another meaning. In my clinic, we strive to provide patients with information and specific exercises so that each person can independently manage his or her own condition. While I enjoy treating patients in the clinic, I want my patients to leave the clinic armed with the tools necessary to independently manage their current condition. Should my patients have difficulty in the future, I want them to have strategies to start to independently self-manage their problems.
If you are attending physical therapy, be certain that you are actively engaged in your rehabilitation, and be certain your physical therapist is helping you to regain independent functional mobility. And make sure that you leave the clinic each day with the tools that you need to independently manage your condition.
Have a happy and safe holiday.