The Women's Journal

The Myths & Truths About Physical Pain

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By Dr. David A. Wilderman, PT, DPT, MS, Founder, 

Wilderman Physical Therapy

Many of us feel that there is no way out of pain, and because we believe it’s permanent, we stay in pain. We stay suffering, but there is a way out. I am not just talking about relief. I am talking about freedom from pain and the journey to optimal health.  

Why do we stay in pain? I have spent over 30 years as a practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy and an optimal Health Specialist, and the number one reason why people live in pain is because they’ve tried multiple interventions in the past, been let down, and lose hope. We have been bombarded with conflicting information and opinions. From quick fixes to magical remedies. Eventually we believe there is no way out and accept this as the best we can do.  

I have spent my entire career proving that “accept this as the best I can do” is far from the truth. I remember one young woman came in for severe, debilitating headaches. She had been to an orthopedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, a neurologist, chiropractor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist. Not one was able to diagnose her problem correctly or provide relief. Her last stop was with me. I determined that the headaches were caused by a malalignment of her feet. Once we corrected the issue, the headaches disappeared, and she was back feeling better than ever. The bottom line is that you do not have to live in pain. There is a way out, and optimal health is not just for the few but for all. 

To understand how, we must first understand that pain is the check engine light for the body. If you are in pain, there is something going wrong in your body and you need to get it addressed.

Here is an interesting fact: you would think pain is the number one reason why people schedule a visit to see me, but it’s not. It is when people hit a threshold where they can no longer carry out their day to day activities. I think to myself if I could have only seen them years earlier, we could have addressed the source of their pain. They could have avoided more damage and would have maintained mobility. 

Our bodies, just like a car, need attention before it breaks down on the side of the road. If we wait, there is a high price we pay.  

Two of the most important skills of a physical therapist are listening to and understanding their patient. Cookie cutter, one size fits all solutions only lead to patient hopelessness. That’s why when a patient says to me, “This probably isn’t important, but . . .” I know it absolutely is important. In the previous story of the young woman with headaches, her headaches were happening because her feet were out of alignment. This led to excessive stresses placed on her knees, hips, back, shoulders, and then up to her neck where it manifested in her headache. Crazy right? But once you know and address the source of the trouble, the problems begin to go away and then we can begin to move the patient back on the road to optimal health. 

What can you do? Think of all the preventative care you do for your health. The dentist, primary care checkups, even sending your children to orthodontists. Your body is no different. Get a regular physical therapy checkup, commit to optimal health and don’t settle for anything less. That is what you deserve. 

Remember, pain is a warning light, so don’t wait to get it checked out. Treat your body like a luxury car, because it is. No matter how amazing it is, you must take care of it preemptively and in a timely manner. Get it checked out regularly and stop listening to all the noise that just confuses you. 

Until next issue, to your wellness and health!

Dr. David A. Wilderman, PT, DPT, MS, founder of Wilderman Physical Therapy was born and raised in N. Wilmington. After graduating from Wilmington Friends School, he went on to receive a BA in psychology/biology from the University of Delaware, which prompted him to pursue a career in Physical Therapy. He graduated with a Master’s of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Arcadia University and a Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University.

Dr. Wilderman founded Wilderman Physical Therapy in order to practice physical therapy in a setting that embodies his philosophy of treatment. He believes in the use of education, individualized attention, and client input in order to help his clients alleviate their pain and physical impairments without the use of pain killers. 


“ ‘Dr. Dave’ is the ONLY Doctor I recommend for physical therapy and for back pain, as his motto is to try to keep you pain-free without the use of opiates. He uses the best and newest CUTTING-edge technologies to manage your pain and FIX you! HIGHLY recommend.”  ~ Amy W.

“I would highly recommend Dr. David Wilderman. No one else offers One-on-One patient care anymore and this is what makes his practice unique and a stand out among other physical therapists.” ~Nadia S.

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