Patient: I saw a physiotherapist previously and all they did was give me exercises.
Physio: Did you do them?
Patient: Errr. Not really.
Not that there is anything wrong with this approach. In the past I’ve been a patient and have gone through exactly the same process. It was partially because of laziness on my part, but also because of a lack of understanding, and a lack of buy into the process of getting better and healing in general. (and also the massive amount of exercises that I was given, and the fear of doing them wrong and exacerbating the problem).
As a physio myself, I now try to pre-empt these problems and issues, and try to provide solutions which will enable the people who come to see me to help them understand the issue, understand how to resolve it, and go away with the confidence and recognition that I don’t have a magic wand, neither do I heal them. Physio’s provide a diagnosis, guidance and information (to educate and empower), it is up to the patient to follow the path in order to get better.
There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path. (adapted from Morpheus – The Matrix).
To give you a brief idea, when you come to a physio we use various tests to work out which structures are damaged, be it tendon, ligament, capsule, muscle etc.
From there we can work out what needs to be done in order to assist the body in healing the tissue in the most optimal way possible, be that rest, load, or a combination of the two, alongside other techniques.
Yes, there is some place for manual therapy and massage, and yes, we use these techniques (we are hands on at Global Therapies), but they are not the sole things that get you better. They are a tool to reduce pain in order for you to be able to get on with the exercises to increase the damaged tissues resilience to load.
This increased resilience to load means there will be greater capacity in the tissue, and thus, you get better.
Not getting around to doing the exercises is a bit like going to the doctors with some horrible infection, getting antibiotics, not taking them, and then complaining that you aren’t getting any better.
There is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.
Perhaps this is not helped by the physio – overzealous guys and gals prescribing a myriad of new and arcane exercises which seem to be easy to do wrong, very hard to do right, and which, altogether, take about an hour to do every day do not make it easy to follow a rehab plan.
We try to ensure that each person we see gets an intelligent amount of rehab exercise which fits into their schedule. Alongside this, we try to make sure that the patient understands why they are doing these exercises, what effect it will have on them, and when things need to progress.
No progression simply means stagnating and not getting better.
No, physio’s do not have magic wands, nor do they have magic hands. The “magic” is in you, the patient. We just do what we can to help that happen. Just remember, if you’ve been shown the path, try and follow it.
If you’d like to speak to our physiotherapist to see if we can help call us on 07985 251185 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s more about who we are on our website.