One of the greater challenges I faced occurred outside the physical therapy setting. It happened after playing hours of basketball when my friend, Mike, began to experience muscle cramps in both his hamstrings with pain so great he started to cry. We drove separate cars to the restaurant of choice and once I parked, I got a call of despair to help him out. I quickly ran to where he was only to see him laying in the trunk of his SUV curled up screaming in pain. I calmly asked him what happened all while our friends were watching with concern. He yelled at me telling me his hamstrings locked and that he didn’t know what to do about it. I analyzed the situation quickly in my mind and directed the bystanders to help me lay Mike supine so I may passively stretch his hamstrings. As I stretched the muscle, even more pain came across Mike’s face but I knew this was the right thing to do. After stretching it, I had him lay prone so I could massage out the muscle. During the massage, Mike started to scream in pain again but this time because his quads were tightening up. I immediately thought, “Why is the quadriceps muscle group – the antagonist muscles to the hamstring – cramping up now?” I didn’t think too much into it and directed the others to help me get him prone so I could stretch out his quad. I also asked if anyone had Gatorade or water around to give to him while I treated him on the spot. I stretched and massaged the quadriceps and another shout of pain came out of Mike; this time his calves! I quickly dorsi-flexed his foot in the position he was already in. He almost kicked my face as a reflex to the pain, so I instructed him to carefully stand up and do a runner’s calf stretch against the car. Once he got on his feet, his pain decreased to a tolerable level. By that time, our names were called and we ate. After dinner I followed up on Mike’s condition and he said he felt much better.
I believe in applying what I’ve learned from my past experiences to situations outside the professional health field and not limiting it to just professional settings. I have the ability to think on my feet and respond to emergency circumstances while keeping a calm demeanor amidst a panicked crowd. I trust that my confidence and care will help the patient recover quicker on a psychological level opposed to being treated by someone who is just as anxious as they are.