PT on the Net Research

Training After Trauma


Question:

I have a client who has recently been through some traumatic experiences, both emotional and physical. She lost a lot of weight and now suffers from severe headaches from time to time and has relatively low blood pressure. She has come to me to help put weight back on, and it is happening slowly. Are there any recommendations or advice you have to offer? Thank you for your time!

Answer:

If you have not as of yet, it may be advisable to refer this client to a medical professional to outline any underlying issues that she may be having. Why is she having headaches? Why is she experiencing low blood pressure? Why is she losing so much weight? She may be dealing with depression or a number of any other issues that may require medical attention and will severely limit any potential progress. You may want to have a full medical release signed by a physician.

Once you get this on file and you are 100 percent sure she is “safe” to work with, you may want to start by assessing her body composition. Does she just have low body fat, or has she experienced considerable amounts of muscle atrophy, or both? In other words, what type of “weight” does she need to put on?

You may need to assess her dietary habits. Is she eating a healthy well rounded diet, or is she dealing with disordered eating. How many calories does she need versus what she is taking in? This may be a rough question to ask, but is she abusing any controlled substances?

You may also want to do a full lifestyle assessment and try to outline her major life stressors. Stress can be the root of many evils, and you may help a lot of the other issues by helping her better (more healthfully) deal with her stress.

If you are implementing an exercise program, make sure you are compensating for the caloric expenditure when assessing her caloric needs.

More than likely she is dealing with a host of issues that will be hard for her to address all at once. I would suggest you sit down with her and outline each problem. Draw up goals (what optimal would be and some sub-goals) create an action plan (with very detailed action steps) for each issue, and set up achievable timelines.

Don’t address everything at once. Rather, put out the biggest fire first and work your way down.

I hope this helps!