When you suffer an injury and are in serious pain, where do you go? Does Doctor Google come calling? Perhaps YouTube? Do you seek advice from a friend? Or do you seek out a professional?
Only a professional can provide the assessment you need when in pain. A huge mistake people make is listening to friends or family. Sure, they may have had similar experiences, but they may be giving you wrong advice. There are plenty of horror stories of people being given dodgy advice on how to “crack” their back or neck. Even advice on how to stretch or exercise may not suit you. Hint: you should never try to “crack” anything if you haven’t done it naturally. (Sometimes when you stretch you may hear a crack in your back or neck. That is fine. If you are trying to force it to happen then it is not safe.)
Amateur advice can only make things worse. Relying too much on Dr Google or YouTube may also produce misdiagnosis and prolong your injury.
But why see a physio? Physiotherapy uses physical treatments to treat injury or pain, or even to prevent disease or deformity, and a host of other physical problems. It plays a major role in both treatment and prevention. Physiotherapists may specialise in heart and lungs, brain, or musculoskeletal issues. Sports physiotherapists such as myself are have a special interest in the musculoskeletal physiotherapy category.
Physiotherapy is hands on. It’s very difficult to perform a diagnosis remotely. As we use physical methods, physios can only make a diagnosis by seeing you in person and employing several techniques. Because it is hands on, and because everybody is different, experience counts. As technology develops the opportunity of remote diagnosis may be on the horizon. But that is still a while away.
A physiotherapist will quickly work out whether they can help or not. They play an important role in referring patients to other medical professionals, if it’s something more complex. Unfortunately delaying seeing a physiotherapist often delays recovery, and in some cases results in prolonged pain.
There are many reasons why people need physios. But there are four key reasons why physios are indispensable: