The Patient Journey To Better Health!


It’s Tuesday and Susan, a 32 year old accountant just finished 7 hours of Zoom sessions in her 1 bedroom apartment. She’s spent the day switching from her kitchen table to her couch, trying to be comfortable enough to do her work from home. She’s exhausted. She’s feeling stiff. And she just realized she barely drank any water and only ate breakfast today. To get her mind off of work and to get out of the apartment, she wants to go for a run. Susan isn’t feeling her best right now, but she won’t let that stop her from getting in some exercise to end her day before dinner.

She puts on her Nikes, walks down the stairs. Susan kicks her legs a few times, stretches her hamstrings, does 10 squats and puts on her favorite Spotify playlist. The 7 hours of meetings start to melt away as she begins to run towards the park. She’s in the groove and letting the playlist take her through the run. Susan finishes in front of her apartment, she clicks “end” on her Apple Watch and smiles that she’s just run 4 miles…2 more miles than yesterday! She feels accomplished; the work day didn’t ruin her run. She does a few more stretches and starts her way upstairs…and, on the last step she feels a sudden pain in her right knee. 

The pain started off sharp, but as she gets into her apartment, it’s become a throbbing ache. She isn’t too worried about it, and prepares her dinner and just puts some ice on her knee—advice she’s gotten before. The next day, when she gets out of bed it happens again…a sudden sharp pain that transitions into an ache. Susan is getting through her day…switching from couch to table and back—but, the pain isn’t letting up. Each time she gets up, she notices that it’s throbbing a little bit more. Her run was only 4 miles. She starts to wonder…Did I take a bad step? Did I bump into something recently? Why didn’t I feel anything the entire time? The next day, she tries to go for a run anyway and within the first half mile, it’s unbearable. Susan is confused, frustrated, and scared she’s seriously hurt herself. She wants to know why this happened and wants to prevent it from happening again. Concerned, she turns to Google and finds a Physical Therapist.

Does this sound like something you’ve been through before? You’re going through the day the way you normally would and then all of a sudden feel a pain that doesn’t have any real rhyme or reason. I’ve been in that boat before and empathize with the frustration my patients/clients feel.

This is a very important aspect of what we do as a physical therapists…I ask my clients to tell me their story and what brought them in to see me. When they don’t remember falling or injuring themselves, they are left wondering how they got into this situation. Especially when it’s impacting the things they want to do; running for stress relief, hiking to get out of the noisy city or playing a game of basketball at the local park. 

Hearing their story helps me piece the puzzle pieces together to understand why the pain might be occurring. People associate pain with an injury or something traumatic. But, a lot of times, there isn’t one mechanism that causes their pain, rather a handful of small things. It’s like a house of cards…when the stack gets too big, just the right amount of stress can topple it. Take the story above for example, Susan was exhausted from work, she just ran 2 miles the day before, and doubled her mileage to 4 miles. She barely ate or drank anything and her warm up was a few quick kicks and squats. 

The small details help us create a plan WITH our patients/clients to get them back to their activity. Knowing that Susan has a demanding work schedule and is sitting a lot; I can give her small options to move throughout the day. Knowing that she wants to run for fitness and stress relief, I can work with her to create a plan that fits into her life and progresses her through the miles without toppling the house of cards.

Collaboration starts with the story and understanding the goals. Once we understand the baseline, we can help work with a client to bridge the gap from where they are to what they need.

If you are looking for this collaboration give our team a call today at 646-875-8348 or email us at to

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