Patient engagement: “You must receive…before you can give!”

Just a few days ago, I had the fortune to examine an 89 yom that was told by his physician that he must insist that he sees me to resolve his chronic R hip pain. I will spare readers the diagnosis and details. This turned out to be a great opportunity for me and, I believe that I was able to help him measurably – outcome to be determined. What is important here is the message of patient engagement. Over the YEARS of enduring this pain, the patient had seen multiple other practitioners, even other PTs – to no avail. The pain persisted. He admitted that, “I don’t like to exercise…” and I listened. I received this gift. Throughout the exam, this gentlemen reported no PMHx, yet went on to speak about lifting too much when he was doing this project and injured his shoulder, the fact that his back hurts when he is bent-over a project for hours at a time, the time that he jumped into a boat and hurt the opposite knee, etc. He sprinkled our exam with messaged about his projects, “tinkering”, desire to be active and productive – but NOT (only said it once) to exercise. I got it. Heard it. Used it. I asked him if he could help me repair a machine that was not working perfectly…he jumped at the chance and asked what it was…and I elaborated, “your hip”. I went on (paraphrased) to ask him to NOT EXERCISE, but do do two things daily to help me get this machine built of moving parts and levers, back to working smoothly again. He took the task with ambition and…perhaps for the first time, saw time on this machine as worthwhile and productive, rather than as a waste of time and “in the way” of projects that he needed to complete. Time and outcomes will tell if I truly engaged him by giving, through receiving (reading his personality, listening to his priorities).