September is Pain Awareness Month, and as Physical Therapists, we work with countless patients who are dealing with chronic pain. Our Owner and Physical Therapist, Todd Kruse, shares this information and insight into our approach to treating patients with chronic pain:

“Pain is your body’s way of trying to warn you about something or defend you from something. It is an alarm/defense system that uses quite a bit of your body’s physiology at many levels throughout the body from cells right in the area of pain all the way up the nervous system to the brain. Pain may use and affect multiple systems of the body.

Chronic pain gets very complicated because your body has been on edge for a while and has changed its physiology to be more aware and sensitive. This means pain signals might occur in response to many different stimuli and it is hard to predict what will cause the pain to flare up.

In physical therapy we try to work with you to get you more functional. You can have pain and not be able to do things you want in life, or you can have pain and be able to keep going and do more. Usually as you start doing more, it takes more to flare up your pain because the pain/defense system becomes mildly desensitized or used to the increased activity. Our main focus is exercise because it is controlled activity and can be adapted to do less or more based on how you respond. If the pain flares up with the exercise performed it is our job to find different ways to still be active, to adapt, and adjust based on listening to you. Overall, we want to help you understand pain better and help you keep moving and do more of the things you want to do in life.”

We want to share a story of one of our longtime patients, Carol Ann Lowinske. In her journey with physical therapy at Optivus, Carol Ann has been able to find relief from pain and has made strong connections with our entire staff. We are thrilled to share her story with you!

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“I have been working out at Optivus for different issues over 20+ years. Utilizing the talented, understanding and very helpful Physical Therapists has provided me a lot of relief from pain. My Physical Therapists have listened intently to any problems I have brought to them. They are friendly and great listeners. I love the fact that they remember from each session what is working for me and what is not. What makes me the most happy is their understanding of my love for water. They set up as many exercises as they can for me in the pool. Luckily for me, there is a warm water pool on site. My pain decreases almost immediately working out in the pool. Rarely is there more than 4 people in the pool at one time which allows me to do all my exercises without disturbing others in the pool.
I have made several friends over the years at Optivus. It is wonderful to have friends that understand why I am there, and it also allows me to support them and to socialize with them outside Optivus. At my last birthday, for example, I had 4 people from Optivus at my party. In fact, some had a goal to be able to come to my party. Could they get up the stairs? Could they sit on regular chairs?

When I got sepsis after hip surgery in 2018, a condition that kills the majority of people, I was led very patiently 4-5 days a week for 6 weeks to help me finally get rid of the harsh edema that disallowed almost all exercise. Then we could go to work on getting my life back.

If individuals want one on one treatment and a more private smaller setting, this is definitely the place I go. If individuals want therapists that genuinely care about you as a person, where you are not just a number, Optivus will provide that. I would not consider going anyplace else. One of the many great features at Optivus is having ready access to all the therapists. So, if one isn’t available there is always another therapist ready and willing to help.

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Over the 20+ years of being at Optivus I have been given exercises to have some normalcy in my life as well as allow pain relief. They know my main goal is to walk my dogs again. Without these therapists, pool, and the equipment there I would be stuck at home living on pain pills. That does not fit my goals or my lifestyle at all. My Main reason throughout the years is to have some control over my arthritis. I also was there twice after two hip surgeries and as the story tells you, Optivus really did everything possible to get me to recover from Sepsis. WE won that battle! And I will be forever grateful.”

We want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Carol Ann for sharing her story with us. It has been an honor to work with you and see you make such great progress over the years!

If you or a loved one would like to start physical therapy treatment to manage chronic pain or another injury, we would love to work with you! You can request an appointment online today to get started.