The frequency with which I still get asked this makes me wonder what my membership fees to the Physiotherapy Association actually pay for.
But, whether I like it or not, what we do remains unknown to certain people. Part of the reason for this, in part, is some of the baloney being rolled out under the title of physio. So the public can’t tell us apart from various other shaman/ancient healing mystics with dreadlocks. But, lucky you, I’ve discovered the best ever definition.
I am an avid reader of science and health information, one of my favourite bloggers is a guy called Erik Meira (called the The Science Physio - so good it should have been mine). He included this idea in a recent blog, which I am going to “borrow” and rant on for a while.
So, what does a physio do?
Physios work on load capacity issues. If you don’t have a load capacity issue, then you don’t need a physio.
Normally this involves pain, pain as a result of trauma or load, which then decreases your capacity as a protective measure.
Pain goes and you are left with dysfunction. Rehabilitation to a certain level restores function.
So if you don’t do much, and you can handle that and things feel good. Cool
If you do heaps and are super fit, you need to rehab to return to train, then handle your training and competition load. But if you’re handling that and things feel good. Cool.
So while pain is normally the trigger to seek a physio, it’s your capacity to withstand the load in your day/week/month that great physios are interested in. It is our responsibility to show you where you need to get to to do the things that you want, provide the information and assistance you need to get there and develop an active treatment program that will develop tolerance to load. All the machines, needles, tape, fascial manipulation, baloney, baloney won’t change capacity.
This also blows up one of my least favourite physio (and others) concepts - maintenance therapy. People don’t need maintenance therapy. They need to move frequently and with enough exertion to match the demands of the life they choose.
So, if you’re in another therapy practice ask them “Do you even Physio, bro (or sister of course)?”