Posted by: dlip | June 25, 2009

In praise of one

There are physiotherapists and there are physiotherapists; and as the Bard in his wisdom once said, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. While I agree in principle with the spirit of this declaration I do have differences with it in one regard, namely one cannot generalise. I say this with special reference to physiotherapists. I have by now been treated almost continuously by physiotherapists since early 2007 and can safely claim to be something of an authority on them.

Therefore, I beg to differ with the bard insofar as physiotherapists are concerned. They are not all the same. They may all have the same or similar qualifications but each one differs from the other and not only because they are individuals but also in their approach to treatment, behaviour and consequently results.

I have come across physiotherapists who consider their duty adequately performed if they are regular and punctual without paying any heed to the varying needs of their patients and with no evaluation of the results obtained. I remember one physiotherapist who would ask me to repeat exercises in exactly the same way as I had done previously with no thought whatsoever about the effect these exercises had on me or about any improvements – or lack of – that were achieved.

We must remember that ‘physiotherapy’ is a branch of medical treatment that relies heavily on the effort and commitment of both the patient and the practitioner. I dare say that this is also true of other branches of medicine but probably more so in this case, where the treatment operates jointly on the physical and mental level.

The inadequacies of my earlier physiotherapists became more apparent to me when I started treatment with my latest therapist. For the sake of convenience and anonymity I shall refer to her as “N.S.”

N.S. is a young slim and tall girl whose slender build belies her strength and it is this that separates her from run of the mill physiotherapists. This strength is not just a physical attribute but one that also aplies to her mind. Other features that distinguish her are:

  • She extracts feedback from me on a regular basis
  • Every day before she starts she asks me to demonstrate the exercises I have done on my own time – this keeps me on my toes
  • She maintains a continuous flow of feedback to me on my performance and makes immediate corrections when I make mistakes
  • She thinks beyond the day’s exercises and relates these, with my performance, to my daily life so that improvements are achieved. In other words her treatment is not isolated and removed from the everyday
  • In addition she is lavish in giving positive and negative points where deserved
  • She has a sense of humour which lightens the mood and makes the exercise a fun thing.

Thanks to her in the past several months my ability to walk has improved considerably and I have learnt to walk on different surfaces, including grass.

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