What is the Ideal Body Type for Physical Therapy?

What image comes to mind when you hear the words, “physical therapy?”

Is it a big gym with sweaty athletes heaving heavy weights, throwing back Gatorades, and running the length of the clinic faster than you can say, “CrossFit?”

Maybe physical therapy is an episode of Grey’s Anatomy – a patient learning to walk again after a car accident made it difficult for them to do so (and don’t forget the good-looking actors-playing-therapists guiding them along).

SOMETIMES physical therapy is those things.  However….

Here’s what physical therapy ALWAYS is – it’s about YOU!

And it’s about me. Your PT. Your cheerleader, coach, friend, teammate, and health advocate.

Our trust and the way we work as a team to get you feeling well, functioning better, and doing more.

What do you feel when you hear, “physical therapy?” Is it ‘intimidated’? Afraid? Unsure? Worried that you’ll be judged?

Have you ever worried that you won’t match up to the other patients in the clinic? Do you fear that you’ll be judged by your size and told to, “Just lose weight!” in response to opening up about your aches and pains? 

Have you had your concerns watered down to your body composition or body mass index before? Has that stopped you from seeking additional care?

Yeah, me too.

It was on my 21st birthday that I realized I had an eating disorder, and every morning since then (I’m 28 now) I have woken up and chosen to fight back against messaging that suggests people in larger bodies are not worthy of wellness, or happiness.

I’ve been there; I have been told that if I lost a significant amount of weight, my knee pain would disappear, like magic. I was prescribed ludicrous *no food just vibes* type diets – ones that were ultimately designed to make me feel bad about myself and to under nourish my body – hand-scribbled and slipped across the table as if my provider and I were negotiating a deal as spies. Here’s the thing- research doesn’t support extremes, judgment, and certainly not body shaming. 

As a physical therapist, my job is not just to help you rehabilitate from pain and injury, but to celebrate what your body can do and highlight that for you if you have trouble seeing it for yourself sometimes. That’s why I see a physical therapist, too; I know I can be my own worst critic, and sometimes you need a friend, cheerleader, coach, and expert all wrapped into one person who won’t make assumptions and put you in a box just based on the way you look – or the way you feel about the way you look.

Physical therapy is for everybody and every body. As are health, confidence, and feeling good about what you can do.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown, or the fear of reliving poor experiences from the past, stop you from seeking pain relief, better balance, more function, strength, mobility, education on the body and the way it moves…don’t let it stop you from seeking the life you want to live. That you DESERVE to live.

I invite you to take up space. To be unapologetically yourself. And to feel truly and completely safe while doing so.

If you are looking for a therapist and are ready, I would love to make that leap with you. You can be yourself in our clinic – you will be spending your time 1-on-1 with me, and no one else. You will have my undivided attention and, together, we can focus on you and your specific goals. Reach out to me anytime at yiftikhar@rehabilitationperformance.com or call our Newburgh office at 812-518-3246 to get started.

See you in the clinic!

Yusra Iftikhar, PT, DPT

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