Unspoilt for Choice

August 8, 2017

Last week we welcomed Karl, a 5th year medical student form Newcastle Uni, on a week long placement in primary health care. He had a choice of many things and chose physio, us in particular, to get an understanding of what we do. Good Choice
He admitted, having never been to a physio before he didn’t really know what a physio does.
He picked a good week, as we had several clients who were excellent examples of having received some really poor advice and worse treatment, were in a pretty bad way. Bad Choice
A colleague of theirs recommended us and we were able to help them. Good Choice (of course)

The saying normally goes “spoilt for choice” and I can see were that applies – records, beer. Certainly in health more choices mean the consumer is more empowered to direct their own wellbeing, except when choosing between good, honest advice and treatment and total garbage. Because to the average person they look the same – even Karl, who is almost a doctor, has no idea what I do.
That’s not his or yours or our clients fault. That is ours. Physiotherapy and health care in general do not do enough to promote evidence-based therapy and throw out the garbage. While on the topic, don’t think i’m putting physio on a pedestal, physios can be the worst of the lot.

There are a few problems with garbage.
Worst case scenario it is dangerous, pain, injury and fear producing or prolonging.
Best case is it is an expensive waste of time.
Garbage is often thought to work, but this is either something that was getting better anyway, or a person’s belief that the garbage works. That’s a placebo. If placebos are free then fine, but they never are.
The garbage peddler’s justification is that they feel better so who cares? Me. And if they knew the truth, most people who get garbage treatment. There is so much research into what works and doesn’t work, and so many cheap and effective things people can do themselves, charging for garbage is unethical.
Garbage paddlers are at best ignorant, lazy and stuck in their ways. At worst they are intentionally misleading people for financial gain.

Now the point of this isn’t me saying Newcastle Performance Physio is the best. The best physio is up to the person who chooses. But we are one of the good guys. There are plenty out there in every discipline you need – medicine, surgery, diet, mental health, exercise, sports coaching, strength and conditioning.
And there is truckloads of total and utter garbage.
Please be critical of your health provider. Ask them questions, be sceptical of expensive or experimental treatment, get a real diagnosis!!! – not just “it’s tight” – and if you are not getting better or being made to go back for months on end, please leave. But please don’t believe that every provider is garbage. Keep looking until you find someone.
If you have had garbage physio, or think you might, our door is always open.
Until next time