The Story of How Music Calmed The Savage Beast
A few days ago, I was treating a patient in the clinic. Our relationship started with him walking in the door and telling me that he did not believe physical therapy worked, and he didn’t know why he was here anyway. (In his defense, I work in workman’s comp/occupational health rehab, so his company sent him to our clinic due to an injury he sustained at work. He was not here by choice.) A few visits went by, and his responses all remained short, almost to the point of grunts at times. And then…it happened.
On a whim, while he was performing a simple weight shifting exercise at the counter top, I asked what his favorite music was. I usually listen to singer/songwriter, solo guitarist, piano storyteller type stuff at work, with the occasional rock or pop song sprinkled in.
When my patient replied 80’s hair bands, I knew exactly what to do. I dialed up my 80’s hair band mix on the iTunes playlists, and delivered the most rock n’ roll patient experience this guy could have asked for. For the next 45 minutes, this patient was rocking out, singing along, and became a “Chatty Cathy”. He reminisced about the first concert he attended (mine was Beach Boys, DM me for the story). He recalled first cassette tape, his first CD, and the treatments have all been a success ever since then.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
Music can help heal people. If you just listen to your patient you will win. Make the connections and build the relationship, you can get successful outcomes. So forget about what you like to listen to, make the experience all about your patient and let them be the DJ for the session. You may even learn about a new band or song you may like!