Physio can be dangerous...

By Andrew on 03 Mar 2018

I'm sure you will be 'Really Surprised' to know that as a physiotherapist, I am constantly asked about exercise and injury.........

Well of course I am, but it happens everywhere, the supermarket, cafe, pub (for a "soda and lime" of course). This happens to everyone who is involved in the health and fitness business and it relates to the general view that there is a magic exercise that can be given to treat each injury. 

Let me give you an example; I am at a nice restaurant enjoying a lovely meal with friends. My very good friend asks me, I have knee pain, can you tell me a quick exercise to help with this.

My dilemma is, I don't know what is wrong with her knee. So my answer is "it depends, come and see me in my clinic, now pass me the wine, I mean soda and lime".

This may seem a little rude or sound like I am whining about my mate but thats not my point. If I tell her to do a particular exercise without knowing what is wrong, this could have 3 outcomes:  

1) it works (they think I am a genius and buy me a bottle of "soda & lime") 
2) it makes things worse (I am now stupid to them & I get no bottle)
3) it does nothing (stupidish & no bottle) 

That means I have a 33.3% chance of making her better, earning genius status and receiving an intoxicating beverage. BUT, would you have elective knee surgery based on these stats?

I'm guessing not unless you have an amazing rabbits foot that makes you incredibly lucky. 

You might think comparing surgery with performing an exercise is a bit extreme but it's not really.

Let me explain what I mean and why it is essential to get assessed by a sports medicine specialist first before you try and self treat from the internet or from a drunken mate in a bar. 

Mary is a runner who has a certain type of knee pain that definitely does not require surgery but has unfortunately been shown an inappropriate exercise to do by a semi drunken physio in a bar (I am obviously being extreme here for added humour), which she has now done for 6 months.

Surprise, surprise, her knee pain is no better and in fact it's worse. 

Mary gets referred to a surgeon and says "my physio exercises have not helped and I am in lots of pain".

The surgeon takes a look at her knee and says "this knee does not require surgery and you need to see a physiotherapist". 

Mary think's to herself, well surely that is a waste of time as all physiotherapists are the same (THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT) and I have 'done my physio'. 

She then struggles onwards for another few years. The condition gets worse and causes her to limp and reduce her running. Mary is now quite depressed and frustrated about her level of fitness and her inability to run.

This is just an example of how misinterpretation of diagnosis and exercise prescription could have a more detrimental affect than you think. 


 

Posted in: Why ProCare is Different

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