Thanks to Pinterest Boards and YouTube Tutorials, Do-It-Yourself projects have become increasingly popular and there doesn’t seem to be much you can’t do on your own.
When it comes to exercise, rehabilitation and treatment tips, there are a plethora of informative websites, videos and Instagram accounts spreading information. As much as they are well intentioned (and most of their content is awesome) I am going to outline four reasons why it doesn’t beat making an appointment with a physiotherapist.
1. Every BODY is different
You may have been diagnosed with a certain condition (rotator cuff tear, knee osteoarthritis or ankle sprain for example) but a diagnosis does not indicate the specific individual factors that have predisposed you to this condition. Diagnoses are typically an umbrella term for the discomfort you are experiencing while the drivers may be lack of mobility, strength, flexibility and/or agility as well as plain old genetics or bad luck. If you go online and start following a cookie cutter program to address the issue, you risk not addressing your specific issue and potentially making matters worse! A physiotherapist will be able to narrow down your root causes, figure out what needs to be addressed and tailor treatment to those unique needs.
2. There is a lot of misinformation out there
Holy smokes- this is an important one! Once again, there are many individuals and websites that are providing stellar education and advice BUT there are just as many who are not. I can’t tell you how many times I have had patients go down a WebMD wormhole only to become more fearful, anxious and upset. These sources, while well intentioned, may not be using the most up to date and evidence informed information and unfortunately cannot account for your specific case. We know that catastrophizing and fear can prolong and worsen the pain experience so as much as possible, try to just say no to Google! A physiotherapist will be able to provide you with specific education and may even suggest some “pre-approved” resources online to help!
3. Hands can heal
Do not underestimate the power of human touch. Manual therapy has received a bad reputation over the past few years but I still believe there is incredible merit in getting hands on treatment as an aspect of care for many conditions. Whether it is some soft tissue release or manual therapy, the science behind touch is there! When used as part of a plan of care it can help get you back into action faster and with more ease. Be sure to discuss with your physiotherapist if hands on treatment may be right for you!
4. Feedback is necessary and important
It’s amazing how our bodies might think we are doing an exercise properly when in reality we are way off base! An exercise is only as good as it’s execution! Body awareness and joint positioning is often thrown off when you are experiencing pain, so rehab exercise technique is especially important. I always tell patients it’s better to do few exercises and do them well than to bust out multiple repetitions with poor form. Trying to replicate exercises from online videos can work out just fine but when it’s bad, it’s usually really bad. Have a physiotherapist assess the appropriateness of your exercises, watch your technique and provide you with feedback- this is a game changer!
Have I convinced you yet? Your body isn’t a cheap toy or even a Volvo- IT IS FOR LIFE! Treat it kindly and always make sure you address issues properly the first time. I promise, you won’t regret it.
About Emma Jack
Emma Jack is a Sport and Orthopaedic physiotherapist and owns her own private practice, Press Play Physiotherapy and Pilates in London, Ontario. In addition, she works as the Team Therapist with Hockey Canada’s Women’s National Team Program and is a community builder within the physiotherapy profession. You can find out more about her at www.pressplayphysio.com, www.emmajack.com or on her social media channels (Facebook, Instagram & Twitter).