- “When it comes comes to physiotherapy, if there is no pain, there is no gain.”
- “Physiotherapy must be painful to be effective.”
- “There are too many exercises to memorize for a physiotherapy program. I just don’t have the time.”
Have you ever had these thoughts about physiotherapy? If so, somewhere along the way you were misinformed about this exercise-based therapy that helps thousands of patients each year.
In this month’s Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics interview, physiotherapist Drew Meller explained why physiotherapy doesn’t have to be painful to be helpful. She also emphasized that physiotherapists understand people’s limitations and are careful to not over-prescribe home exercises.
If you’ve ever shied away from physiotherapy because you assumed it would be too time-consuming or strenuous, read the Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics interview with physiotherapist Drew Meller below.
Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapist Drew Meller Dispels Myths About Physiotherapy
Q) What are two misconceptions people often have about physiotherapy?
A) I think the top two misconceptions that I come across regarding physiotherapy is that it is painful and there is always going to be a lot of exercises to learn. Many patients that walk through the door believe the old adage “no pain, no gain,” and this is simply not the case.
Physiotherapists do not aim to cause patients pain with either their hands-on manual treatment nor with prescribed exercises. At Elite, the physiotherapists and Elite professionals are very mindful of keeping the lines of communication open with patients to ensure that neither treatment nor exercises are causing pain.
Our physiotherapists are also very mindful of the number of exercises prescribed since giving clients a long, time-consuming list of complicated exercises is simply not realistic. We emphasize quality over quantity. The aim is that patients have a very good grasp on how to perform their exercises and the reason that they have been prescribed.
Q) Why should patients trust physiotherapists?
A) Physiotherapists are regulated health professionals, meaning that we are governed by a college which regulates the standards of our profession in the interest of the public. The college is responsible for ensuring that physiotherapists are providing health services in a safe, professional, and ethical manner. The college sets standards of practice for the profession, and physiotherapists must abide by these standards to remain in good standing and be registered with the college.
Physiotherapists have a vast knowledge base as they have completed 3-4 years of undergraduate education, including specific requirements of relevant course and lab work, as well as a 2 year Master’s of physical therapy.
The Master’s program provides much more comprehensive and specific training aimed at developing a skillset which will be added to and fine-tuned with increased experience and specific training. In the Master’s program, physiotherapists learn comprehensive assessment and screening skills. An importance is placed on screening for “red flags” so that we can properly refer back to physicians when appropriate.
Physiotherapists will consider clinical information obtained through physical assessments and other medical history and articulate a strategy to help the patient reach their treatment goals. Physiotherapists are also trained in the specific demands and indications of a variety of special populations, including neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis), chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus, heart disease), and geriatric and paediatric conditions.
At the completion of the Master’s program, physiotherapists must successfully complete both a written and clinical national exam in order to register with the college of physiotherapists and work with clients.
Q) What is one issue that most people probably don’t know physiotherapy can help?
A) Most people are unaware of physiotherapists’ vast scope of practice. We are trained to treat conditions involving the spine as well as peripheral joints. Some clients believe that they must go see a chiropractor if their back or neck hurts, but physiotherapists treat these areas as well.
Physiotherapists are also greatly suited to treating chronic degenerative conditions of the joints such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Some clients may believe that such conditions would not benefit from any treatment. However, joint mobilizations, soft tissue release, and exercise can be very useful in relieving pain and improving function of clients living with these conditions.
Some physiotherapists also specialize in treatment of:
- Jaw pain
- Issues of the pelvic floor
…just to name a few.
Q) Would you describe an example of what a home program might look like in practice?
A) A home program is highly individualized to the client, so every client’s program will be different. Generally speaking, however, your physiotherapist…
- Will prescribe 3-4 exercises to be completed a certain amount of times per day or week.
- Will provide ways in which you can better manage your symptoms throughout the day or week.
- May recommend that you partake in a walking program, aqua therapy, or exercise class.
Q) Name 3 fun facts about yourself.
- I tend to cry when I laugh. Many of my friends consider it a huge compliment if they can get me to cry.
- I have done a fair amount of traveling in Asia. I’ve visited many countries in South East Asia, and last spring I visited Japan. I plan on making central America my next destination, hopefully in the near future.
- I’ve decided to train for the half marathon this year for the first time. Wish me luck!
Q) How often do you see patients enabled to cut down on the usage of pain medications as a result of physiotherapy?
A) Usage of pain medication is one thing that I make sure to ask my clients about both during an initial assessment and at follow up. It is a very useful objective measure of how successful physiotherapy is at managing pain symptoms. Most clients do not enjoy having to take pain medications to manage their symptoms as they often have negative side effects.
“In my experience, physiotherapy can greatly reduce and/or completely eliminate the need for certain pain medications depending on the severity and type of condition.” — PT Drew Meller
Q) Why should patients choose to work with the team at Elite?
A) The team at Elite is comprised of highly compassionate and skilled physiotherapists. Our team of physiotherapists put in the effort that is needed to ensure that all clients get the best possible care and outcomes. We do so by regularly:
- Engaging in learning sessions
- Reviewing the latest literature to ensure care is effective and evidence-based
- Participating in ongoing education courses
- Sharing information and learning from one another
Our physiotherapists are trained to treat issues of the vestibular system, pelvic floor, sports injuries, and chronic pain. We offer specialized services such as…
- Reconditioning programs
- Pre- and post-operative rehabilitation
- Movement screening
- Dry needling
Connect with a passionate, dedicated physiotherapist like Drew Meller by contacting Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics in Winnipeg.
If you could ask a physiotherapist any question, what would it be?