What Black Lives Matter Has Taught Me About Taking the Next Step and How it Can Relate to PT


Life has definitely seemed like a whirlwind of emotions lately. I found myself experiencing a number of different emotions since the murder of George Floyd two weeks ago and with the events that followed. In the past, I have chosen to stay "neutral" on topics that I considered "political"; however, for some reason this time, I was feeling called to take a stronger stand for my beliefs and values. I felt that I was at a crossroads and it was my time to make a decision about what my next steps would be.


First, I had to take a look inside about why I had chosen to stay "neutral" and remain silent in these matters previously. Here were a few of my reasons: Why does my voice matter, when it seems like there are so many other voices that don't matter? Will I be judged for my values and beliefs? Fear of not having the right words to say. After some self reflection, I came to the conclusion that my fears should not stand in the way of my values and beliefs and that I can no longer stand in silence as racism, sexism, and oppression of minority groups continue to be a theme in this country.


Second, I realized that part of my silence was because I wasn't educated enough on the issue of systemic racism in America. Being educated allows me to make better decisions about what steps to take next and how I can do more to effect change. So I have started reading more about the history of racism in America, watching documentaries and listening to podcasts, and I am beginning to have more open dialogue with others on this issue. I need to be more educated so that I can be a better ally.


Third, I decided that I felt called to take a stronger stand. I have made my beliefs and values clear that I do stand for Black Lives Matter and I participated in the Solidarity March in Des Moines last Saturday. It was a very powerful event and it was so great to see many people come together peacefully to stand up for what they believe in. I believe that we must choose LOVE over hate and GOOD over evil. I believe that it is our differences that make us truly unique and that this is the beauty of humanity. We must love our neighbor as ourself and do unto others and we would want them to do unto us. I also realize in order to expect larger change in this world, I must first have to be willing to change myself.


Finally, I understand that change takes time and it isn't going to happen overnight. I also realize that I must continue to make an effort to further educate myself and continue to take a stand. I must become a more educated voter and ally not only for the black community, but other minority groups. I have to stay motivated to make the change and be willing to get outside of my comfort zone.


How Does All of this Relate to Physical Therapy?


You might be saying to yourself Physical Therapy and the Black Lives Matter movement are nowhere near related. You are correct, these two things are not directly related, but for some, the decision making process that I just outlined might look similar. Black Lives Matter is a deeper and systemic issue that is sparking change and movement across the country; however, it has taken a long time for this movement to really come to fruition and for others (including myself) to finally take a stand. There have been similar movements in the past and change was created, which maybe made it appear like the issue was no longer there, so there were some that stopped pushing for more change and others (like myself) may not have realized that change still needed to happen.


In comparison, there are many people that are dealing with an injury or have been in pain for months and in some cases years. Some of these people may have chosen to not take any steps to improve their pain and were waiting to see if it will get better on its own. Why? Maybe it's because they don't know what the next step to take is. Others may have tried some different forms of treatment (medication, massage, chiropractic, or maybe even physical therapy) but they either didn't see the change they wanted or maybe they didn't stick with the program long enough to get the lasting results they wanted. While this is not a national matter, it is a personal matter that can effect your ability to live an active lifestyle and impact your quality of life.


If this example sounds like you and you realize that maybe you gave up too soon on working to improve your pain, so you can have a better quality of life or get back to the activities you love that you have since had to give up. Or maybe you are the person who hasn't taken the next steps to deal with your pain because you aren't sure what those next steps are. Let me outline for you what your next steps should be:

  1. Take a look inside. Do you want to have a life with less pain? Do you want to improve your quality of life? Do you want to get back to lifting weights, running, playing sports with your kids, etc.? I think most of you would answer yes to this question, and the good news for you is that there is almost always something that can be done to improve your pain and quality of life, even if you have tried things in the past.

  2. Become more educated. No, this doesn't mean google your problem or symptoms. It means speak with a qualified professional to figure out what the root cause of your symptoms are and what all of the potential treatment options are.

  3. Make a decision about what the next right step is for you. You must choose to act and take the next step to getting better. This might include physical therapy, an exercise plan, diet changes, or tracking stressors and other factors that can increase pain (lack of sleep, work and relationship stress, etc.) At Enhance, we believe in taking a holistic approach to your health and looking at more than just the body part you are having difficulty with.

  4. Remember that change takes time. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. However, with dedication and consistency with following a plan you can and will see change in the way you feel and in the way you are able to move. It will take some effort and you may have to get outside of your comfort zone to see the changes that you want, but it will be so rewarding when you start to see those results.

If you are ready to make a change in your life to starting living a life with less pain, improve your quality of life, and get back to the activities you love then I invite you to take advantage of our FREE Discovery Session. In this session, we will cover all of the steps I listed above. We will figure out the underlying cause of the problem, educate you about the problem and potential treatment options, and help you make the decision about what the best plan of action is for you. If we both determine that Enhance is the right fit for you, then we will stand by you and support you through the change. If you are ready for this change, click HERE to schedule your FREE Discovery Session today!

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