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PHYSIOTHERAPY

Why choose Physiotherapy? Physiotherapy started as a profession in the 1800's when women were getting pain from very tight corsets that deformed their ribs and caused uteral prolapses. Massage was the initial skill used, followed by electrotherapy (ultrasound and interferential (the pins and needles machine). In the 20th century Physiotherapists merged with the Remedial Gymnasts to solidify the exercise and rehabilitation aspect of the profession and since then the profession evolved significantly into an evidence based profession.

Physiotherapy is a diverse profession and as undergraduate students many conditions are studied including musculoskeletal, neurological , medical and surgical conditions . We believe that this diversity gives Physiotherapists many strengths as we learn how to understand and treat pain and movement in many different types of conditions.

In South Africa, Physiotherapy is a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree. As qualified Physiotherapists, we are registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and have to attend lectures/courses in the evenings and at weekends to gain our yearly 30 CPD (continuing professional development) points to remain on the HPCSA register.

If you are coming for an appointment regarding a musculo-skeletal problem we will take a history to understand the problem and help look for clues. We might ask about things that happened a long time ago and aspects of your current daily life that could contribute to the problem. Sometimes it may be difficult for you to see the links and relevance but please go with the flow!

We like to build relationships with our patients – a new injury or problem is often related to an old one – even if it is hard for you to see the link. Understanding your history if we have notes of previous problems to refer to will help us treat your current problem a little easier.

It is also important to understand that your mind/emotions and body cannot be separated from your physical body. There is a lot of evidence about this link. Whatever is going on at work and in your personal life that may be upsetting you in any way can have an impact on your body and especially on any pain. Sometimes we are not even aware of our emotional reactions to things that are going on as they can be very deep – this does not mean that they are not there.

Some of us are more skilled at recognizing emotions than others. Often we block uncomfortable emotions out with addictive behaviours to repress them: overeating, overspending, overworking, obsessions with sport (pushing ourselves beyond reasonable limits) as well as the more familiar ones of excessive drinking and smoking. As Physiotherapists we learn about and are very aware of how emotional issues can change pain perception – whether your "pain" is home, office or sports related.

We assess your range of movement and posture looking for any pattern changes that might indicate any contributing factors to the problem: looking at the joints, ligaments, muscles and nervous system. We then apply different techniques to whatever structure we feel needs attention and provide you with advice, stretches and exercises to help treat the problem.

If necessary we can refer you for an X-Ray or refer you to another healthcare practitioner or specialist if necessary: we may recommend a certain doctor that has expertise that may suit your particular problem.If you have a regular GP that you wish us to communicate with please let us know.

Some physiotherapy techniques can be a little uncomfortable at times – please do not be alarmed by this. Please let us know if you are feeling this. It does not mean we are harming your body. It is common to feel stiff and sore even up to 48 hours after a session. There are no quick fixes and the best results are not always instantaneous.

The Internet has changed the way people deal with their bodies and a lot of people like to research their problem – this is understandable. Unfortunately there can be confusion if the patient has self-diagnosed and the therapist does not treat the problem in the way that they expect. If you have researched your condition and have a certain diagnosis in mind please discuss this with your therapist to help him/her understand your perspective. You are paying for the opinion of a trained professional who works with these issues on a daily basis and there are often many factors to consider.

Self-medicating plasters are very popular as they are easily accessible – please make sure if you are using these that you are not double dosing with oral medication during their use. Read the instructions and use one at a time. Cutting them into pieces is also not recommended as makes the dosage insignificant. Also remember that often the site where the pain is being felt may not be the place where the pain is being generated.

The mainstay of musculo-skeletal assessment and treatment is spinal/peripheral joint mobilization that Physiotherapists learn as undergraduates. Many Physiotherapists do a post-graduate course in Spinal Mobilisation as well and there are also post graduate sports courses. We may advise you to use ice or heat and we may use some of our electrotherapy modalities: ultrasound, interferential, TENS and laser. We strap and tape as well as use dry needling as treatment modalities. The use of exercises to rehabilitate your injury is often key to the prevention of your problem recurring and we encourage you to keep up with stretches and any exercises we prescribe. Exercise is often the best medicine.

Posture is also important and we can help tweak little problems that may make a difference: people use computers for long hours at work and home which is affected by posture. The use of cellphones and tablets can also cause problems.

A recurrent problem does not mean that the treatment has not worked. In daily life it is difficult to be perfect regarding posture, lifting and carrying etc. especially working long hours and with busy family lives. We are always available for a follow up with an appointment or drop us an e-mail if you feel unsure. Seeking help elsewhere is not always the answer, if you trust your physiotherapist which we hope you will, rather ask him/her why the problem may have recurred. You may not have had enough treatment, or may need a referral to another medical professional. Some people choose to have a regular session of treatment and we recommend this for recurrent problems that are not serious. Our cars need regular servicing – we often forget our bodies and expect them to carry on regardless of what we do to them/use them for! Muscular aches and pains often have a deeper root cause, and it is better to address the cause of the problem than the symptoms – it will be more effective and cost less in the long run. Our treatments combine many useful techniques targeting joints and soft tissues, which have been formulated with years of experience that can provide the best combination of results.

Enjoy your physiotherapy treatments and we hope you find our treatments beneficial!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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