7 myths about Physio
Today, now more than ever, we can be bombarded by opinions and thoughts about healthcare. So today, let’s dispel 7 myths about physiotherapy.
The first myth is that physiotherapy is a passive activity or that the session will just be a “rub down”. However, if you expect to see results then you have to be actively working toward your goals. When a person comes to therapy, the treatment plan includes exercise and manual therapy tailored to strengthening those areas that may have played a role in the injury. Yes, therapists may sometimes incorporate massages into treatment, but alone, it is not enough to correct underlying issues and achieve lasting results.
The second myth is that therapy is going to hurt. Many people come to their first session and they are expecting to experience a lot of pain. Sometimes pain is a part of the process, but it’s never the mission. During a patient’s evaluation, the therapist may perform special test that can recreate the patient’s pain which helps the therapist to pinpoint areas that may have been affected by the injury or areas that may contributing to the patient’s condition. This is important because it allows a focused and effective treatment plan to be developed. Here at Adderley Physiotherapy, if any activities occur that cause pain, we try to do something that can alleviate some of that pain before leaving. In reality, our treatments are not meant to be painful, the goal is really for the pain to be less often and less intense at the end of therapy sessions.
The third myth is that therapy is a quick or an instant fix. However, physiotherapy is not the same as “quick oats”, it is a process that takes active hard work. Think of it more like old-fashioned oats. It needs to simmer for a while. If a person has been injured for a long time then it is unrealistic to expect to be better in a week or two. In reality, healing rate depends on many different factors like age, nutrition or even how active a person was before injury. Patients should start to see small improvements weekly but, in the end, you simply have to be patient because results that are going to last, take time.
The fourth myth is that the pain is never coming back. Therapy is not necessarily something that patients should stay in forever, but as therapists we do expect you to progressively get better and get back to a state of independence. We expect patients to “graduate” with the tools that they need to carry on with their lives. However, outside of therapy, you should be partaking in regular exercise not only because it’s good for your overall health, but so your body does not become weak again.
Myth number five is that therapy is only needed when there is an injury. Therapy can also be used as a preventative measure. For example, if you play a sport, then perhaps therapy can help you strengthen those necessary muscles for better performance. Often times many people are prone to injury because they do not have a proper warm-up and cool down routine and therapists can assist with outlining the most effective stretches to perform before and after playing a sport.
Myth number six is that therapy is not as effective as surgery. Conservative measures such as therapy can be effective and can provide good results. In some cases, therapy can be seen as better than going under the knife, having a hospital stay and taking weeks sometimes months off of work to recover. In fact, sometimes after surgery therapy is still required to optimize results, strengthen and gait train. Going the conservative route, there really is not anything to lose and it may help avoid surgery all together in the long-run. However, there are some severe cases where surgery should be considered.
Lastly, but certainly not least, myth number seven is that you have to attend the clinic that is listed on the referral form. It is completely up to the patient where they choose to go for therapy, and it should be someplace where you feel comfortable and will get the best care. Here in the Bahamas however, you do need a referral form from a physician before seeing a therapist.
I hope that this has helped shed some light on the discipline of physiotherapy and that you can now approach it (should you ever need it) well-informed, with open eyes and an open mind.