Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Stroke Survival~I Got One, But Not the Other

Today's post is on therapists. Actually, a specialty with a field of's the physiotherapist. What I didn't know, before I asked, is there are two different types. I just assumed that you went the extra mile after your masters + got your doctorate= physiotherapist.  Well, you know what they say about assume. The short of it is I was right and wrong.

Carol (not her real name) does the women's health, evaluates all incoming P.T. clients, and a host of other functions. I asked her if she had her doctorate. She said, "Yes, but not the PhD."

This confused me because when I entered the doctorate program upon graduating, I became known as Dr. Murphey. After my ordination, I became Reverend or Dr Murphey. I thought it was the same for all degrees...NOPE.

At my puzzled look, Carol explained that there were two tracts of schooling for physical therapy. One is sort of like a vocational versus academic versions of PhDs. She chose the vocational path. She does all the hands-on, practical stuff, while the doctor type can write prescriptions and stuff like that.

That made sense to me. It's a question of boards and licensing. It's a personal decision dependent on where your heart lies and what you want to do. Like I could have remained Dr. Murphey sans ordination, but chose to go through ordination. So I've got a physiotherapist with a doctorate, but not a doctor of physiotherapy.

Among the stroke tribe and other survivors not in the initial tribe yet, there is a hot button discussions about physiotherapy doctors being better for stroke survivors than neurologists. Personally, I can only read about it because I don't have the option of the experience. I read the pros and cons of everything especially if I don't know enough to form my own opinion. It's just a smart thing to do.

What really got me thinking about this was a discussion my OT and I had on Christmas Eve. We were discussing alternate treatments for spasticity since I had problems with my last round of injections. I tend to put the people who work for me on the spot with questions and demanding answers. That being said, I'd rather be told, "I don't know but I can check, or I don't know" than being sidestepped, or have smoke blown up the wazoo, or lied to.

First, let me say that I have an excellent rapport with my therapist. It is born out of mutual respect and honest caring. She actually researched this while on vacation...a cruise no less.

She told me about dry needling. I'd never heard about it before. Anything she doesn't understand about how and why a technique works, she calls voodoo therapy and this was definitely a voodoo therapy to her. It was just the fact that there wasn't too much information or studies involving it and it's a relatively new procedure. She gave me the basic run down. She said preliminary studies have shown both positive and negative results. On the positive side, significant reduction if not a total cessation of spastic muscles. On the negative, it doesn't work or increases the spasticity and pain due to spasticity. Then she told me that my old speech therapist's husband is a month shy of being certified in the technique.

I did some preliminary  research on it and set about finding a doctor within my PPO to perform this service, a physiotherapist or chiropractor. I'm that desperate to stop this insanity with my muscles. I was insane enough to voluntarily have poison injected into my body every four months (Botox). What's one more step towards the cliff edge? Besides, I'm still doing research so I'm going into it with full knowledge, or full as I can be. The hitch is that it might be a pay-out-of-pocket thing. If that's the case, this treatment will have to go on my want/need list until I have money to pay for it. I won't know for sure until February. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, my OT changed her opinion of my paralysis and admits I am paralyzed. She told me that the upper arm fires but the spasticity won't allow movement therefore it is not paralyzed, but my low forearm, wrist and hand are paralyzed because even if the spasticity was nonexistence it does not fire. So, we were both right. She's learned a lot in the past six months of dealing with me.

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. Your explanation of paralysis is brilliant. I hope you find some relief for your spasticity. I would like to kick the researchers who write about spasticity not being real.

  2. If you're able to do that treatment, I hope it has a positive effect on you.

  3. Jo, I understand your desire to find something to help with all your problems. I'm at that point with my fatigue. Good luck!

  4. Actually, it is a Doctor of Physical Therapy.


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