What does a physiotherapist do? They are problem solvers. Let’s look at a scenario to help explain it:
The man walks through heavy glass doors; a wince flickers across his face. Ushered through from the waiting room, he sits gingerly in the chair in a curtained cubicle. Enter the physio, the Sherlock Holmes of the injury world, ready to mount a case and solve another mystery.
‘Pain in your lower back you say? Hmm’. Sherlock scribbles on his clipboard.
‘You were putting your socks on when it started? Interesting, hmmm’.
The detective pieces together the evidence. With every ‘hmmm’, the patient gets increasingly curious and anxious. Will it be good news or bad? What have I done? Can I be fixed?
‘What makes the pain worse?’ the detective asks.
‘Uh, sitting and bending over’, the patient offers.
‘Hmmm. What sort of work do you do?’
‘Oh, I work in an office’.
The plot thickens . . . the man starts to sweat, just a little.
‘What do you do for exercise normally?’
‘Um, not really anything regular . . . I used to play footy’, he offers with a flush of guilt.
‘Hmmm. How is your general health?’
‘Well OK, apart from carrying a bit more weight than I should’. He looks down at the ground.
What’s the verdict? the man thinks to himself while he fiddles absently with the button on his shirt.
The detective is finally ready to crack the case.
‘It seems you are a victim of . . . ‘
The patient leans forwards expectantly in his chair and then winces once again.
‘ . . . the case of the dastardly disc’.
The audience gasps . . .
Physiotherapists picture every patient as a new detective story. Each injury, no matter how clear cut it sounds, is a product of an intricate combination of factors, which must be pieced together to solve its existence.
Most injuries have a preventable component
Injuries tend to fall somewhere between either end of the spectrum: those that could not be prevented and those that could.
A fit, young basketball player with no prior injuries lands heavily on another player’s foot after descending from a rebound. He rolls his ankle and sustains a sprain to some ligaments. This chap would fall very close to the ‘could not be avoided’ end of the scale.
A lady with back pain, who sits hunched over a laptop all day at work, is too busy to exercise as much as she used to. She has expanded a bit around the tummy, has had a bothersome back in the past, does vigorous but infrequent gardening sessions and spends her evenings tracing her family history online. She sits closer to the preventable end of the scale.
The truth is, most injuries sit somewhere between these two.
There are a number of factors that tend to predict those who not only are more likely to become injured, and also tend to recover more slowly and less completely from these injuries.
These common risk factors have been formulated into the Injury Risk Indicator – a measure of your likelihood of sustaining a preventable injury, or your likelihood to suffer for longer than necessary from an injury.
Click here to take the test online.
Once you have identified your injury risk score, you can take simple steps to minimise or eliminate the risks. The book Before You Break can teach you exactly what to do.