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Everybody Could Use Some Fine Tuning

Posted By Matthew Nicholas, Chapter Relations & Marketing Coordinator, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Everybody Could Use Some Fine Tuning

By: Nadia Kiczula, SPTA; Kim Liwag, SPTA; Jinno Reinante, SPTA; & Mitchell McIntosh SPTA
Oakton Community College, Class of 2018

            As we know, service learning and helping others in the community is a large portion of our profession. To get us geared up for first exposure, we were assigned a service learning project.  A few of us second year PTA students, decided that we were going to help the musicians from the Oakton Community College Orchestra, our college‚Äôs orchestra, that had reached out to our professor a couple months before the service learning project was announced. The musicians had complaints of pain while practicing and afterwards as well as general discomfort. With everyone having some background in playing musical instruments growing up, it sparked our interest and we decided that supporting the arts would be just the thing. With the help of our professor, we were able to get in contact with the director and set up our first meeting.   

            Our goal for this project was to inform the musicians about exercises, stretches, warm ups, body mechanics and overall wellness to help prevent any further injuries and pain without affecting their sound.  As a group, we wanted to help the musicians minimize their pain so that they could continue to participate in their activity. After doing research, we were able to put together some exercise and stretches that would help benefit the musicians such as exercises that helped correct posture, relieve tight muscles that have been misused due to poor posture and general fitness exercise to improve their overall conditioning and well-being.  As a group, we gave the orchestra a presentation on this information and taught them how to correct their sitting posture while playing their instruments as well as how holding their instrument differently could benefit them. They were supplied with a home exercise program and instructed how to perform the exercises to fix impairments brought on from practicing music. Working with the musicians taught us the importance on going out to educate people about what the profession of physical therapy is about. Most of the musicians were not aware of the benefits that physical therapy could bring to their normal everyday lives and to their playing abilities.

            While the interventions provided to the musicians were insightful to them and us, we believed that we could make a greater impact by advocating for them to get new chairs. Most of what we observed during our presentation was that their chairs were one of the main causes for their impairments. With our recommendation and help from our professor we were able to communicate with the college and have them provide chairs that would better the musician sitting posture.

            We were very pleased and even surprised when we heard that word had gotten around to other departments about the insights we had shared with orchestra. We were even more surprised when those departments reached out to us to come share those insights with them.

            Throughout this whole project, we were able to uphold the standards outlined in the code of ethics by the APTA. We showed respect to everyone and their decisions to refuse or participate in the exercises and help that we provided as per Standard 1. We displayed Standard 8, our sense of social responsibility by advocating for their needs, which in this case were chairs, and by educating them about physical therapy and what help the profession, including the school department, can provide for them. Lastly, Standard 3 was very much integrated, as we demonstrated excellence and integrity while being accountable for making decisions based off of evidence-based practice that applies to our patients and communicating our plans amongst peers and superiors

            We are very privileged to be able to help, advocate, and learn from this profession. While we are not yet licensed we are very aware of the opportunities that we encounter as well as the impact that our care and responsibilities will provide in the future.

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