QUESTIONS ABOUT PHYSIOTHERAPY
Important questions to assist with physical health
More people are taking interest in their health and fitness, asking questions about physiotherapy and accessing information online. But it’s remarkable how many questions and misconceptions about physiotherapy remain. We need to answer questions about physiotherapy because people can often be lead astray by wrong advice which prevents people from receiving the treatment they need to overcome their injuries. In my 19 years as a physiotherapist, the following questions are the most common:
Is physiotherapy just an expensive massage?
No, physiotherapists use massage, but this is only one tiny tool we use to treat our patients. Qualified physiotherapists have extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal, cardiothoracic and neurological systems. This knowledge is incorporated in hands-on skills for diagnosis and treatment.
Are physiotherapists and chiropractors the same?
Only superficially, since both physiotherapists and chiropractors study the human body, but the knowledge based and problem-solving skills that physiotherapists use are vastly different. Physiotherapy training involves studying the heart, lungs, brain and skeletal system which then allows physiotherapists to work in the hospital setting. Chiropractors can only work in private practice.
Can stretching prevent injury during exercise?
A comprehensive warm-up prevents injury. A proper warm-up includes addressing your biomechanics, mobility, strength, core and conditioning. Stretching is recommended to help loosen you up and allow you to treat troublesome areas. But stretching alone is not enough to prevent injury.
Will a good mattress prevent back pain?
Oh, if only it was that easy to prevent back pain since this issue impacts 80 per cent of us at some stage of our lives. While a comfortable mattress is a good thing, it can never be considered a cureall for back pain. There is little research linking good mattresses and back pain prevention. Unfortunately, back pain is far more complicated than sleeping on a quality mattress. There are many contributing factors to back pain and misdiagnosis is common.
Should you wear a neck brace after a car accident?
Wearing a neck brace is among the worst things that you can do to your neck after a car accident. There are many joints in the neck alone – a brace stops them from moving properly, which means you are weakening the muscles holding up the neck, so it takes longer for you to heal. Neck braces should only be worn if a health professional has advised you to do so.
Can I google the exercises that I should do?
Searching for exercises online is like
trying to google what’s wrong with your car. You might get a broad answer but nothing specific. You either risk doing exercises which are inappropriate and result in injury or you just waste time doing unnecessary exercises. A physiotherapist will assess and evaluate exactly what exercises you should do and for how long. They will also show you how to monitor your progress at home.
I don’t have pain so why do I need a physiotherapist?
Elite athletes are excellent at using physiotherapy as a preventative measure. Seeing your physiotherapist at the correct time will ensure your body is primed and ready for what you want to do.
Do I need a referral to see a physiotherapist?
No, you don’t. Other than in a hospital, you can make a booking in any practice and see a physiotherapist. It’s worth mentioning that not all physiotherapists are the same; some are qualified in different treatment methodologies than others and may have differing philosophies in how they approach things. There is bound to be a physiotherapist for your needs. Remember to ask questions about physiotherapy from your practitioner and don’t be afraid to shop around when choosing a practitioner.
Kusal Goonewardena is an experienced physiotherapist, lecturer, consultant and mentor to thousands of physiotherapy students around the world. Kusal has authored books including: Low Back Pain – 30 Days to Pain Free; 3 Minute Workouts; and co-authored Natural Healing: Quiet and Calm. Kusal consults via his clinic, Elite Akademy.