Initially i was shocked, but i think many probably dont really understand what my profession is about! Here I answer it.
"So what is physiotherapy?"
I got asked this one other day and thought damn some people don’t actually know what a physiotherapist is or does!
I could easily rattle off a dictionary version of it, or the technical term. But that is boring and I don’t do boring.
I like to think as physiotherapy as the why, the how, the when and what to do about an injury!
The body is designed to heel itself. The injured tissue itself naturally heels, however the way in which the tissue (or its surrounds) is used or functions again post injury will vary. Physiotherapy acts to return normal movement and function of a tissue and its surrounds to optimize performance and reduce the risk of ongoing/secomndary problems later on.
How do we do it?
There are an array of physical therapies that can be used to optimize movement and function of a tissue or other structure.
This to me is the important part and the difference between a great physio and an average one. A great physio uses high clinical reasoning skills to treat injuries. For me personally, I constantly think and answer a bunch of questions (in my head) ‘Why am I doing this? Is it the best technique for this person? Is it the most appropriate for this injury or is there something better? What does the evidence in the literature say? Is this the most effective, efficient and viable treatment for my patient? Can I find or work out something to make this treatment even better?”
In my profession I see many (ordinary physio’s) use set recipes on how to treat. An example: how many people do you see with shoulder pain, regardless of the cause, get theraband rotations?? Answer: heaps. Why: They just don’t or don’t try to have a deeper understanding on what’s truly going on.
A great physio will individualise everything and take the time to do so, even if it is only a slight modification, they will work out what is best for you and your injury!
Getting in and addressing the issue early is the best way to manage an injury. It’s easier for you as well as the therapist to guide a return to function and get the very best results. A later start can cause other issues, take longer to return to optimal performance and makes it harder for you to reach your goals.
What to do about an injury?
See a physio of course! If you got to this point I am sure you have realized that we are the best and most qualified to assess, treat, advise and make recommendations about your injury. This may even be a referral to someone more equip and qualified to handle your presenting case…
I hope all this helps understand physiotherapy and concludes that it is your best option for all musculoskeletal injuries.