What does Ankita Rana, DPT, the Physical Therapist for the occupational rehabilitation program (ORP) at NWRTW do?
Her responsibilities within this program are primarily focused on orthopedic issues –mostly bone and muscle. The goal of her work, ultimately, is to better help manage the symptoms of pain that a person experiences after a work injury. While NWRTW has many other programs that lead towards the goal of getting a client back to work, for many people, the journey starts here.
Ankita starts by getting to know the client, and specifically, taking the time to understand what activities they were performing at their job before being injured. She wants to know how they were performing these activities. How was their body moving? She also wants to know more about what their job entails and what they like to do with their time. This information helps her to collaboratively make a treatment plan with them, that focuses on getting them stronger through meaningful activities that are personal to them. By tailoring the treatment around these activities, rehabilitation starts by restoring function to things that bring joy and purpose. Someone who wants to participate in their therapy is one of the strongest indicators of someone who will have a successful recovery.
During this introduction period, Ankita will help clients become aware of tools to help them manage their pain, because for most people as she puts it, “we are their first contact for therapy.” This means that there is a lot of catching up that she and many other therapists must do to prepare someone for their road to recovery. Which can often be difficult.
For some, the first conversation can be about accepting the position they’re in. Traumatic injuries can leave people with chronic pain and learning that it can exist long after an accident is important to understand. It can be scary to experience an injury, chronic pain, and a loss of work, but Ankita and many other Physical Therapists help them to realize there is always a path forward, and the intensity and the duration of pain experienced can be helped.
For some people, their first visit to Physical Therapy can be insightful, because they may not have a complete picture of what happened after their injury. In many cases, the obvious symptoms that someone experiences after an injury can come from places that aren’t obvious. Pain and injuries are complex, and the start of Ankita’s work begins with getting a probable diagnosis.
“My specialization is ortho which means I catch what other people miss.”
For a PT in the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Program (ORP), reducing pain, increasing tolerance, and teaching active pain management techniques are the foundation for successful rehab in the future. Throughout all of it, Ankita emphasizes that transparency is a must with clients. Managing a client’s expectations, their plans of care, and how parties move forward with this information is important. Knowing what comes next makes a big difference.
“Our body can be viewed as complex or even simple if we understand how our muscles work together in harmony. I am fascinated by how a single muscle can change the whole body’s biomechanics and bring pain and/or dysfunction. Working in ORP gives me the opportunity to wear my clinical detective hat: find out what might be the probable diagnosis, fix it, and help you actively manage it by yourself (teach you means so that you can take control of your pain and function by yourself).
Learn more about Physical Therapy at NWRTW HERE.