Whatcha lookin at? Part II

Whatcha lookin at? Part II


7.”Physical wellness is the positive perception and expectation of health…the ability to effectively meet daily demands at work and to use free time”

This is what my job mostly entails.  As a PT, I get to give people their physical wellness back.  Typically, we see patients because some aspect of their life is giving them pain and therefore preventing them from living their life as they would like.

  1. “Spiritual wellness is the belief in a unifying force between the mind and body…establish values and act on a system of beliefs as well as to establish and carry out meaningful and constructive lifetime goals”

When things get put into this perspective, it means more than simply religion.  What is your end-goal? We have a beautiful family with a daughter and hopefully many more on the way.  My end-goal is to leave a legacy that my family can be proud of.  I look at my dad, Sal Gutierrez, and see my Superman.  I want my kids to be able to look at me and say, “There goes my Superman.”

I want to leave my mark on this world.  The words that I write today will outlive me by centuries.  This is my journal.  Although this article is much different than the previous ones, this is much more enjoyable to reflect upon than simply the cause and treatment of back pain.

  1. “Social wellness is the perception of having support available from family or friends in times of need and the perception of being a valued support provider…establish meaningful relationships that enhance the quality of life for all people involved”

I think back to the book “The Prince” by Machiavelli (sp?).  A leader can either be feared or be loved.  I think of my family (by either blood or experience) and know that if they ask me to jump, I will ask when, where, and how high.  This is out of love, but not fear.  I know that I have family that will do this, as evidence by our wedding and people flying across the country at short notice.  I hope that I am the same type of family to those that I surround myself.

  1. “Psychological wellness is a general perception that one will experience positive outcomes to the events and circumstances in life…positive outlook about life…qualities of optimism, determination, and hope”

This one is huge.  I have had many patients tell me that the most important thing that I give in the treatment is hope.  This is emotional for me because although it is great to be able to change someone’s pain, it is much better to be able to change someone’s outlook.  Hope, determination and optimism.  I think of how the tale of two lives.  Growing up on the East side of Joliet, life wasn’t white picket fences. My life could have turned out completely different, but thankfully my parents were determined to give me better and we moved to a small farming community.  The nature vs nurture debate couldn’t have been stronger internally.  As much as I like to think that I did the whole bootstrap thing, I have to fully acknowledge that the environment I was in allowed for hope and optimism.  Thankfully, I have a circle around me that also shares in these traits.  Many have said it, from Tim Ferriss to Dave Ramsey, ” we are an average of the 5 people that we choose to spend our time with”. I am grateful my 5 guys made me better instead of brought me down.

  1. “Emotional wellness is the progression of a secure self-identity and a positive sense of self-regard, both of which are facets of self-esteem…ability to cope with daily circumstances and to deal with personal feelings in a positive, optimistic and constructive manner”

I think of this portion of wellness frequently. It is not uncommon that I am treating a child with a parent present or an elderly parent with a middle age child present. The patient may not be able to cope with the situation that brought them into the clinic, but the caregivers can either break or heal the situation. Some caregivers come across as apathetic, which makes sense as to why the patient doesn’t want better for him/herself. No offense if you are a caregiver, but please step outside of the situation and look into the situation with a fresh perspective. If you were watching as a third party, would you be proud or ashamed of how you act?

Some people don’t have the capabilities to deal with daily circumstances. Like I said previously, my brother died of a drug overdose. His life was full of obstacles…whose isn’t. Just my opinion, but I don’t think that it is a major event that causes people to lose hope and spiral downward, but more of a “straw that broke the camel’s back”. I think that there were too many straws in my brother’s case. Looking back though, as his brother, there is shame and guilt that I didn’t see this coming. Think of how this comes full circle. One person’s emotional wellness, or any wellness for that manner, can affect those that are in close proximity (either physically or emotionally). When at work, I do my best to ensure that my wellness is overpowering to those around me in order to bring up the other person’s wellness aspects. When there is a patient whose emotional, physical or social wellness overpowers my own…I sit back and allow that person to bring me up.

Good story. I had a patient that was in his 90’s. He was coming to therapy for balance issues. He noted that his “balance wasn’t what it used to be”. I agreed and said that my balance probably isn’t as good as it was 10 years ago. He then proceeded to stand on one foot for two minutes and stand on one foot with his eyes closed for a minute. My jaw dropped. At this point, I realized that this guy didn’t need me. If anything, I needed to learn from him. I asked him; “What did you do for a living and how did you get to be in this good of shape at your age?” He gave me a history lesson and noted that the year the Olympics were boycotted by the US, he was in the trials for the 100 m dash. He trained and trained for years in order to qualify for the Olympics, only to have his dreams squashed that year. He then quit sports and went on to a physical job as a track coach. He was still performing sprints into his 80’s. This also reminds me of another athletic relic in our country, Zygmunt Smalcerz. Look him up now! I’ll wait.

  1. “Intellectual wellness is the perception of being internally energized by an optimal amount of intellectually stimulating activity…not so overwhelming that there is no time for mental repose…includes a person’s ability to learn and use information”

This is very important in our society today. Everyone speaks of the watering down of higher education, in that you have more difficulty obtaining work with a BA/BS today than you did 30 years ago. More students are moving on to MA/MA or DPT’s (in my own case) than ever in the history of our country or my profession. The reason for this is that a job is not waiting at the other end. Our current kids (mine included) has more screen time than any generation previously. This screen time, although we can rationalize why it is good for our child, is really a way to allow for us to have a cheap babysitter.

  1. “Howard Clinebell” introduced other dimensions of well-being with the addition of the relationship, work,play and well being of our world dimensions.
  2. “Relationship Well-Being Dimension represents the most important factor for our healing and general wellness…need for nurturing and love, for giving and receiving, for empowering others, and for creating interpersonal bonds”

It has been said by Dave Ramsey that next year we will the same person as we are this year except for the people that we meet and the books that we read. People change us. I meet some patients at work that just completely upset me and make me make changes due to some of their perceptions on life. I meet others, like that track star, that make me think there is no reason not be healthy as an elder…other than decisions that we make in our younger years.

I try my best to be a positive influence to those people that I come in contact with, but sometimes it is not easy.

Everyone needs love in his/her life. Personal Story: My parents divorced when I was young. I don’t remember my mom much as a kid because my dad took care of us, and he did an awesome job with me…in my opinion. Again, my superman. Back to the point, when one is devoid of love, a cynical or angry perspective of the world can seep into our being. I was angry for a very long time because I stopped having contact with my mom when I was still young. She walked away. I was angry and had trust issues for a very long time. Think about it…if the person that you are inherently supposed to be able to place all of your trust into does something so terrible as to destroy that trust, then who can you trust. In the words of Stone Cold Steve Austin DTA. It took me over 2 decades to come to terms with the situation that happened when I was still a kid. Life is good now and I very much understand the concept of the “need for nurturing and love”

Excerpts taken from the following:


Thompson CR. Prevention Practice: A Holistic Perspective for Physical Therapy. In: Prevention Practice: A Physical Therapist’s Guide to Health, Fitness, and Wellness. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated:2007.

Stay tuned for part III

Author: Dr. Vince Gutierrez, PT, cert. MDT

After having dedicated 8 years to growing my knowledge regarding the profession of physical therapy, it seems only fitting that I join the social media world in order to spread a little of the knowledge that I have gained over the years. This by no means is meant to act in place of a one-one medical consultation, but only to supplement your baseline knowledge in which to choose a practitioner for your problem. Having completed a Master of Physical Therapy degree, the MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy) certification and currently finishing a post-graduate doctorate degree, I have spent the previous 12 years in some sort of post-baccalalaureate study. Hopefully the reader finds the information insightful and uses the information in order to make more informed healthcare decisions. MISSION STATEMENT: My personal mission statement is as follows: As a professional, I will provide a thorough assessment of your clinical presentation and symptoms in order to determine both the provocative and relieving positions and movements. The assessment process and ensuing treatment will be based on current and relevant evidence. Furthermore, I will educate the patients regarding their symptoms and their likelihood of improving with either skilled therapy, an independent exercise program, spontaneous recovery or if the patient should be referred to a separate specialist to possibly provide a more rapid resolution of symptoms. Respecting the patient’s limited resources is important and I will provide an accurate overview of the prognosis within 7 visits, again based on current research. My goal is to empower the patient in order to take charge of both the symptomatic resolution and return to full function with as little dependence on the therapist as possible. Personally, I strive to be an example for family and friends. My goal is to demonstrate that success is not a byproduct of situations, but a series of choices and actions. I will mentor those, in any way possible, that are having difficulty with the choices and actions for success. I will continue to honor my family’s “blue-collar” roots by working to excel at my chosen career and life situations. I choose to be a leader of example, and not words, all the while reducing negativity in my life. I began working towards the professional aspect of the mission statement while still in physical therapy school. By choosing an internship that emphasized patient care and empowering the patient, instead of the internship that was either closest to home or where I knew that I would have the easiest road to graduation, I took the first step towards learning how to utilize the evidence to teach patients how to reduce their symptoms. I continued this process by completing Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy courses A-D and passing the credentialing exam. I will continue to pursue my clinical education through CEU’s on MDT and my goal is to obtain the status of Diplomat of MDT. Returning back to school for the t-DPT was a major decision for me, as resources (i.e. time and money) are limited. My choice was between saving money for the Dip MDT course (about 15,000 dollars) and continuing on with the Fellowship of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) (about 5,000 dollars), as these courses are paired through the MDT curriculum or returning to school to work towards a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I initially planned on saving for the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT, but life changes forced me to re-evaluate my situation. The decision then changed to return for the tDPT, as my employer paid for a portion of the DPT program. My goal for applying to and finishing the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT is 10 years. This is how long I anticipate that it will take to finish paying student loans and save for both programs, based on the current rate of payment. I don’t know if I will ever accomplish what I set forth in the mission statement, but I do know that it will be a forever struggle to maintain this standard that I set for myself.

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