As a Physiotherapist I see a huge number of patients come through my door with a large variety of explanations as to why they are getting their pain and how they can solve it. This can come from other health care professionals or the internet, with the latter creating a whole manner of quirky explanations and phrasing behind the origin of the patient’s pain.
Some of the common ones that I hear that really annoy me include:
The words therapists use can hold a huge weight and can leave a lot of information open for interpretation which can make your imagination run wild. One example of this is when a patient comes to me saying their spine is crumbling or that their spine is bent or curved without any further explanation (a scary thought whoever you are), thankfully these terms aren’t used particularly often but still crop up now and again. From experience, these patients try and protect their back, which considering what they think is happening to their spine is quite logical. However, in reality, the spine is a very strong and resilient structure that is designed to take knocks, bumps and load through its lifetime. Moreover, any twists or rotations of the spine are completely normal, no one is born completely symmetrical therefore these slight deviances from perfect probably won’t be causing your pain. The main thing to cause pain in this manner is a sharp or sudden change, not something that has taken years to develop.
Another big thing that annoys me is when a patient tells me that in order to keep a joint stable or healthy they need constant treatment or taping to do so, otherwise they are certain they will twist their ankle etc. This can make people dependant on that professional which can lock them in a continuous cycle. While repetitive treatments and taping can be effective at reducing pain, they are not a long-term fix, they act as more of a window of opportunity for you to improve the strength and mobility of a joint without the injury feeling worse for doing so. This is why physiotherapy as a profession focuses on giving you back your independence by using strength and exercises so that all patients can live their lives to the fullest, with just a small top up of mobility every now and then.
Telling people to stop exercising
By far my biggest pet peeve is when any of my patients get told that they can never do an exercise again. Be you a high-level athlete or someone struggling with a bit of hip pain, stopping an exercise completely is one of the worst things you can do as it can lead to deconditioning of muscles and stiffness of joints. The best thing to do is to adapt the exercise by finding the root cause of the pain and then strengthen and exercise around it. This can improve your physical health but also help with your mental health as you can continue whatever you love to do.
So, to quote Dale… Just keep moving!
If you have any questions or would like to book a session don’t hesitate to call us on 01285 654059