Most people endure some form of chronic pain at one point or another in their lifetime. For many, it may be tempting to seek relief in the form of prescription medication. However, prescription medications provide only temporary relief, and often carry the risk of dependency.
According to Jake Cooper, Physical Therapist at Ogden Clinic, there is another way.
“Exercise, in my mind, should be considered medication,” said Cooper. “Prescription pain medications carry the possibility of creating dependency upon the medication, and upon the doctor that prescribed them. I’m a firm believer in giving a patient the tools to be able to recognize a problem themselves and be able to treat it themselves, so that they don’t have to necessarily be dependent upon me or upon anyone else. That’s something that I have taken pride in – I want to treat a patient so they can get better, but I don’t want to see them back in for the same issue.”
Jake Cooper gained an appreciation for the benefits of physical therapy at a young age. As an athlete at Bonneville High School in South Ogden, Utah, he developed trouble with his left kneecap, leading him require distal patellae realignment surgery.
“It was a long process,” Cooper said. “Probably a lot longer than what I expected as an impatient 17-year-old kid… but looking back now, it’s obvious that my physical therapists knew what they were doing.”
He recovered from his injury, eventually playing two years of baseball at Weber State University. There, he studied Athletic Training and Therapy. He then went on to complete his Doctorate of Physical Therapy at Idaho State University. His interests as an Ogden Clinic physical therapist include sports medicine, injury prevention and injury recovery.
Regrettably, he notes that he treats a high number of injuries in younger athletes.
“We’re seeing a lot more injuries now that young athletes are specializing in one sport and focusing on that single sport all year long,” Cooper said. “These kids never have an offseason. I think that’s what’s leading to most of the injuries that these young athletes are dealing with – an offseason is a critical time to allow your body to recover. Without that, your body can really suffer.”
He believes the single-sport specialization is most often borne of a young athlete’s desire to play their chosen sport at the college or professional level.
“Less than one percent of high school athletes go on to play at the college level, and even fewer play professionally,” Cooper said. “I’d encourage kids to play several sports, rather than specialize. I’d encourage kids to enjoy their childhood.”
He notes that college coaches are beginning to agree with him.
“You’re seeing more and more now that college coaches would rather recruit a multi-sport athlete versus one that’s just been in a single sport,” Cooper said. “By the time these kids get to college age, they’ve been playing a single sport for eight to ten years. Even if they haven’t developed chronic, overuse-type injuries, they’re still likely to be burned out.”
Jake Cooper joined Ogden Clinic in July of 2016. He’s excited to be back in his hometown, taking part in the direct access to patients that physical therapists enjoy at Ogden Clinic.
“You don’t need a referral from a primary care physician in order to see a physical therapist,” Cooper said. “Being Doctors of Physical Therapy, we are primary-level providers for musculoskeletal injuries and issues. It’s nice to bring that benefit to our patients; it serves to reduce their healthcare costs – one less visit to the doctor means less money out of the patient’s pocket.”
You can reach Dr. Jake Cooper by calling 801-475-3300 or by clicking here to make an appointment.