“Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't"
Short of this sounding like “memoirs of a physio geek”, my intention for this blog post was more to express my personal insight into what it takes to be a health practitioner in today’s modern world where information acquisition is as easy as pushing a button and asking: “Siri, why do I have elbow pain?”
I recently decided to take the plunge and go back to Uni to study a Post Grad in Sports and Exercise Medicine. Having been out of Uni for more than 10 years (you’ll soon start to work out that the age stipulated on my profile is a little inaccurate!) it was at first daunting…gone are the days of 10c/page photocopies of journal articles when conducting research or manually typing out references in assignments…instead, everything is online! This means everything is also online and available for everyone and anyone!
Patients often show up already armed with information from Dr Google and have a fair idea of what their diagnosis is….I say kudos to you for taking an interest and seeking information…but what that means for us physios is that we need to stay up to date with the latest and greatest… and perhaps even beyond that.
So why did I choose to study Sports and Exercise Medicine (a course which emphasises an all-encompassing multidisciplinary approach to managing the modern athlete) ?
Here’s the thing, when you come in with an injury, you’re not just “that patient with back pain” …you’re a whole person where many variables play a part in leading you to injury and/or slowing down the recovery process. There is a bigger picture!
Looking at how nutrition, psychology, medical issues or even the anatomical and physiological differences between man and woman play a part in how we operate brings a whole new level to how we approach treating the modern athlete…but a quick caveat here (before we get a barrage of comments about practicing out of scope!) I’m not for a second suggesting that we as physios can cure all…but more the fact that we are arming ourselves with the knowledge to refer on and work with the appropriate specialists should the need arise.
Here’s a true story- I recently saw a patient for calf pain/tightness. Back when I was a bright-eyed bushy tailed new grad physio, I would’ve probably kept massaging her calves and devised the most amazing rehab program. She also saw a lot of other physios, osteos, myos, chiros, etc who all told her the same thing- “you have tight calves”. The thing is, from a long chat in our first session, the signs and symptoms just didn’t add up and I decided to refer her straight on…and I’m glad I did. She needed surgery for a medical issue that no amount of massaging or rehab would’ve fixed.
We at Evolutio here in Richmond, Melbourne believe and operate on the principle that the sign of a good practitioner is to know when to refer on and to never claim to be able to solve every problem, instead we set aside ego and admit when something is beyond our scope of practice in order to ensure the best outcome for our clients.
On the flip side, when we can help with an injury, we look beyond just that…we also see injury as an opportunity to improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Returning a person to physical activity is so much more than just getting them to PB their squat or half marathon. It’s about educating them on how correct movement, strength and stability can reduce the risk of further injury. The ability to continue physical activity can also reduce the risk of developing preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, which are a huge economic burden on society.
We applaud the health practitioners, trainers and coaches out there who are stamping their mark in this industry but we also encourage collaboration, discussion and co-working!
Watch this space for upcoming workshops for athletes, coaches and fellow health practitioners in our brand new location in Richmond! We can’t wait to share knowledge with you all!
I’ll leave you with this from my good friend Confucius - “True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know”
Jac is one of the best known Physio's out in the Melbourne Sports and CrossFit market. She comes from an experienced background in Sports Physiotherapy through many years working in London and Melbourne.
She has a wicked eye for Analyzing Movement and Biomechanics. Jac is also a coach at CrossFit U in West Melbourne.
Jac works at Evolutio in the new Richmond, Melbourne clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.