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A previous blog post The day I cried at my needling appointment has recently had a lot of views and had a mix of reactions, even causing a few concerns. A lot has happened with my physio treatment since then but I haven’t written much about it in my blog. I wanted to write a follow up post to reassure people that I do trust my physiotherapist and believe that they are doing the best for me, and also highlight why anyone with chronic pain needs to do the same.
First of all I am extremely grateful for all the comments, questions and concerns that I have had. It’s great to know that there is a community out there showing an interest and making sure physiotherapists are appropriately qualified, do their job correctly, and are ensuring that the customer/patient comes first. I also appreciate that the physio industry has a lot of different opinions about how things should be done and what is best for the individual.
Some of my blog posts are written about my experiences and there is often a lot of emotion involved – naturally so, due to the fact that I suffer daily chronic pain. They are also written to help others with chronic pain and to provide an insight in to what I’m doing and how I manage my pain.
I’m sorry that my previous post caused some concerns but it was written in good faith. I’d had a painful experience and I wanted to be honest and share it. Reading it back I can see why it can come across in the wrong way. Despite my previous post and the pain that I went through, I trust my physio more than any other I’ve seen, and here’s why.
I did my research first
I’ve been to several different physiotherapists over the years and every single one has had a different approach. Some I have seen through my occupational health at work, and others I have found myself based on other recommendations and how far I’d have to travel. I’ve spent £1000s on treatment over the past 5 years and I wasn’t prepared to go through all the heartache and expense without doing some research first to make sure that I was going to see someone I wanted to see.
They have the right accreditations
They are full members of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (MACP) and Health and Care Professions Council.
They are honest
They openly admit they are more brutal in their approach then most other physios. And after my needling appointment they knew it wasn’t the right approach for me. In each session they explain their theory behind the treatment and why they are choosing that option. They let me have the final say about what I want them to do, and this is based on the thorough and honest explanations they give.
I have learnt a lot from them
In my assessment appointment I learnt more from them than at any other medical or treatment appointment over the years. They explain things in plain English and in a way that makes sense. I have learnt why I am having neck pain; why I need to do the home exercises I am doing; and what more I can be doing to help myself.
They have a good reputation
I met someone at a gym class that also goes to the same physiotherapist as me and they also spoke very highly of them. Their testimonials are also very impressive.
They are professional and have excellent customer service
First impressions count. And from day one walking in to the clinic, I felt I was in safe hands and will be working with professionals. Everyone who works there has excellent customer service and this automatically puts me at ease when I walk through the door. Admittedly I did not write about this in my The day I cried at my needling appointment post because that wasn’t what it was about.
Most importantly, I am seeing results
As mentioned in my blog post I have a sitting disability. Oh and a few other chronic pains I’ve had neck pain since 2015. I’ve seen chiropractors, osteopaths, and tried all kinds of painkillers but nothing was helping. After just 3 sessions with my physio I’ve started to see results. I truly believe that despite the painful and embarrassing experience of my needling appointment, this was the start of my neck pain slowly reducing.
I really do trust them. They are determined to help me and I trust them to advise me on the best treatment options for my pain. They don’t do anything I don’t want them to do, as they know I won’t walk back through the door if we don’t work together.
What you can do to ensure you trust your physiotherapist
I’m certainly not a physiotherapy expert but I’ve been to see several people and know when I have trusted them or had that positive gut feeling about wanting to return for further treatment. Here are a few tips to help you find the right physiotherapist for you.
Do your research
Speak to people you know and get their views and recommendations. There’s nothing better than word of mouth, positive success stories, and excellent customer service. I’ve not always had a good outcome with my treatment in terms of improvement in my pain, but I can still recommend someone if they’ve had the right approach and customer service. It’s about the whole picture, not just the treatment itself.
Look online at company websites and see what information it tells you. Read what they have to offer in terms of treatment, opening hours, and information about staff members. Look at the accreditations and who they are registered with (this may vary in different countries).
Contact them and find out if they’ve treated people with the same issues as you, or ask if they recommend anyone else if they can’t help.
Have an assessment appointment
It may cost a little extra money, but it’s always worth booking in with a physio to discuss your needs, what you want from them, and to understand what they can offer to help you. I had the best assessment ever with my current physio – the whole 40 minute session was dedicated to asking questions and doing a physical examination to understand what may be causing my pain. A previous physio asked a few questions and then started treatment without me understanding the situation nor explaining what the treatment was and why they were doing it. I had to ask. One example of why customer service is vitally important.
Ensure you understand what they are saying
The medical world comes with a whole host of jargon and acronyms which mean nothing to people like me. If you don’t understand what your physiotherapist is saying to you then it doesn’t build trust in the relationship. And constantly asking them to explain things shows very little respect between the specialist and the patient.
A little chit chat goes a long way
The relationships that have always worked well with me have always been the ones where I could have a chit chat or bit of banter throughout the treatment. Not only does it make the sessions less formal and more relaxed, but listening to an anecdote while the treatment is happening is a very good distraction tool.
What advice do you have for making sure you trust your physio?