Keeping the Endgame in Mind During Physical Therapy

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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If I didn’t know that the endgame for physical therapy is to be fully functional again, it’d be easy to come up with excuses to just stay in bed right now. Physical therapy isn’t fun or easy, but it is a necessary friction.

Thankfully, I am on the mend from a fall that fractured my hip two weeks ago. I have been observing and experiencing firsthand how important time and the right stretching and exercising are on the road to healing.

The best way to get back in action is to do just that — get back in action! But it is important to do so with caution and intentionality. Our bodies need time to rest and recover, but being dormant for a couple weeks may have a negative impact on our body’s ability to function.

Our bones may heal with time. But our functionality and restored range of motion tend to take a regime of careful intentionality. The notion that nothing important happens by accident is as true as ever.

A correctly executed physical therapy plan is designed to help us get back to “normal” after an accident or surgery. Of course, “normal” looks different for everybody. I’ve always walked with a disturbed gait due to Friedreich’s ataxia, and no amount of physical therapy will fix that.

I’m currently using a wheelchair and a walker. I’m unable to take any steps without an assistive device or someone helping me. That wasn’t the case before I fractured my hip.

The goal for my team of therapists and me is to get me back on my feet and moving without the use of a device or other aide. Now more than ever, I’d rather walk “funny” than be unable to walk at all.

That is my endgame. As painful and uncomfortable as physical therapy may be right now, the end result is what drives me. I could lie here for weeks and let my body heal naturally and idly, but then it would take much longer and risk not restoring “normal” function and range of motion in my knee, hip, and leg. I’d rather put in the work to get the results I want as soon as possible.

I want to go home, and I want to do so under my own power.

What other areas of life might we put off or sacrifice in order to avoid the immediate pain? What excuses do we lean on for comfort instead of taking risks to achieve our desired outcome?


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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