Participating in a home physiotherapy program can sometimes be tough for patients. Many physiotherapy patients are surprised to learn that participating in a physiotherapy program is more involved than simply visiting a PT clinic once or twice a week for an hour. Most physiotherapy patients also need to do at-home exercises in order to see lasting results.
While at-home physiotherapy exercises don’t take much time, patients can be resistant to doing them. In an exclusive interview (below), Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinic’s physiotherapist Christine Sharrow explains why this is. She also gives insight into how patients can overcome barriers to engaging in their physiotherapy home programs.
How to Overcome Barriers to a Physiotherapy Home Program
Q. What is the most common question you hear from potential physiotherapy patients?
A. How long will it take to see improvement, and how many visits should it take? Realistically, it depends. It depends on how long you have been experiencing your pain and what you are willing to do to correct it. This is why a home exercise program is so important. The amount of time between your first assessment and your follow-up should be relatively short in order for the physiotherapist to properly assess how you responded to treatment, and to better determine the most effective frequency of treatment.
Q. What is the #1 barrier to patients fully committing to a physiotherapy program or participating regularly in a home program? What is the solution?
A. I think the #1 barrier is the perception by the patient that the determined course of action may be more onerous than what is required to be successful in changing their movement patterns and overall function. A solution to overcoming this barrier is to fully discuss expectations of the program. By better understanding the expected outcomes, the more likely the patient is to complete the exercises, and the more likely the movement patterns will become natural to them, which often results in the client requiring less appointments. Once clients understand the purpose of the exercises and start to see the affects they have on their function the more likely they will be motivated to be compliant with the home program.
Q. What do you like most about being part of the Elite team?
A. I am so happy and proud to be a part of the Elite team. I work in a friendly and professional environment. We always strive to improve as Elite promotes ongoing education. This is probably what I like the most. The physiotherapists meet once a month to explore new skills or just enhance the skills we already have. We also get together in smaller groups to discuss our skill sets, and plot a course of personal development to keep fresh and in tune with any new research which may be out there.
Q. At Elite, is massage part of every patient’s treatment program? Why is massage complimentary to physiotherapy exercises?
A. Every patient’s treatment program is designed specifically for that individual. Massage may or may not be indicated. On the other hand I am a huge advocate for massage therapy as an adjunct to therapy. Massage treatment can increase blood flow, which helps to relieve muscle tension. When you have reduced muscle tension, you will experience more flexibility and motion, which in turn will compliment your exercise and aide in your recovery.
Q. What is one example of great results you’ve seen from combining acupuncture with physiotherapy exercises?
A. There are many clients that come in asking for acupuncture. I would say that I use it every day in my practice. One example that comes to mind is a personal one. I was able to use acupuncture when I had a torn rotator cuff muscle to help get my pain under control so that I could complete my exercises more frequently and without pain. Acupuncture was an adjunct to treatment. The follow up with the exercises was what ultimately made me pain free and much stronger. This is why education is a huge part of the time that is spent with your physio. It is ultimately the exercises that will help your recovery and prevent further injury.
Q. What is the best feedback from a patient you as a physiotherapist has ever received?
A. Every physio wants to see their patients get better. I would say the best feedback I have received lately is about the overall experience that an individual had. She told me that she enjoyed coming to see me because we had a good time together and she felt comfortable expressing her concerns. It did not feel like “work” to come and go through the rehab process. She said that she really felt heard when she told me the struggles she was going through, both related and unrelated to her injury. She also took the time to follow up with an email after treatment to say thank you. I really value this feedback and it was very nice to hear the impact that I had on this individual. I understand that it isn’t easy to struggle through rehab. If I can make it a more positive experience for someone, I love to hear about it.
Q. What are 3 fun facts about you that your patients might not know?
- I love a good laugh (although the more time we spend together the greater the chance they will figure this out).
- I wake up 10 minutes earlier than needed every day to cuddle with my Pomeranian.
- Victoria Beach is my happy place.
The patients of Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics can be sure of one thing: they are in good hands. Physiotherapists like Christine Sharrow are completely dedicated to the cause of getting patients to a place where they can truly enjoy life. These healthcare professionals’ skill matches their level of compassion, and they are equipped to handle a variety of health issues including (but not limited to) low back pain, chronic pain, and sports injuries. They also offer the following services:
- Reconditioning programs
- Pre-/post-operative rehabilitation
- Movement screening
- Dry needling
Do you live near Winnipeg? Are you interested in scheduling an evaluation with Christine or one of her peers? If so, contact Elite Sports Injury Physiotherapy Clinics so you can start living your best life as soon as possible.