Assemble your healing team, part 2

In a perfect world, you will be able to see three skilled practitioners each week before surgery, and build back up to that afterwards for several months. In other words, you need a Darryl, a Linda and a Lorilee. And it will cost several thousand dollars. Now, if your insurance is any good, the surgery itself will be mostly covered. If you want to protect against a slow, painful and/or incomplete recovery, it is not going to come cheap. But in the process, you will transform your body and likely your relationship with it as well.

Ok, So onto finding your Darryl, Linda and Lorilee.

  • A physical therapist (in my case, Darryl who is a DC but works in a PT clinic). The person you’ll work with probably works at a Physical Therapy clinic/office.  This person is going to establish benchmarks and advance you forward as rapidly as you decide to go. They will customize stretching and strengthening exercises for you. They should use physioballs and other props to craft varied workouts for you in the clinic and also for you to do at home.
    • I found the services provided through my Kaiser HMO to be insufficient in frequency, intensity and most importantly, in ambition. They just seem not set up to help a person achieve an accelerated recovery.That’s not to disparage the caring professionals in the Physical Therapy department. One PT I saw beforehand gave me an exercise that was incredibly helpful in maintaining range of motion. They did, however, lend no credence to the notion of forestalling joint replacement, though I have read in the literature that many are able to manage the condition, or at least tolerate the limitations that it affords. So maybe the PT that comes with your insurance will be fantastic, but I am here to tell you that there is good and there is great and there is a significant variance between the two.
  • A chiropractor (in my case, Linda). Over the years, I have seen many chiropractors and I have become convinced that slow velocity adjustments and/or the use of gadgets called activators to make adjustments gently are superior in terms of training the body into a new posture. Also, a good chiropractor will not limit themselves to bony manipulations but will address soft tissue discomfort as well. For San Francisco, I would recommend Susan Green or Frances White.
  • A bodyworker (in my case, the miracle-working Lorilee). There is a lot to say about choosing a bodyworker, but here are a few guidelines for starters, if you want to get value and benefit from massage/bodywork/somatic arts.
    • You can’t just look on Yelp. Some people just like to have oily fingers mash at their muscles.
    • It shouldn’t hurt. If someone is grinding their thumbs down your spine, you’re in the wrong place. A sophisticated bodyworker can coax muscles and tissues to release instead of brutalizing them. I have received that level of work from many practitioners, and I myself practice at that level, so I know that of which I speak!
    • They should have studied some cranio-sacral therapy and active release techniques, or other specific advanced somatic techniques beyond “Deep Tissue” and “Sports Massage”.


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