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Physiotherapy : Fact vs Fiction

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

Physiotherapy: Fact vs Fiction

“Can I have a massage please?” or “Will you crack my back?” or “They only treat athletes.” I have been a physiotherapist for 19 years, and at least once per week, I still have patients, caregivers and even medical personnel asking questions that show there is still a certain mystery to who physiotherapists are and what we do. There is a myriad of persons practicing health related techniques, and it can be difficult to choose who or what is best for you. I hope to dispel some of these myths so you can make better choices in selecting a health care provider to manage your needs! ​FICTION: Physiotherapists just rub and walk patients after surgery FACT: Physios are university level trained professionals who study for a minimum of 3 to 4 years in the science of healing and the art of caring. We work with clients to develop, maintain and restore their movement. So whether you are aging, have an injury, illness, disease, or simply seeking to improve your wellness, we are the provider of choice. We effectively treat a wide variety of conditions that affect every system of the body. A short list of these include sprains, strains, arthritis, fractures, joint replacements, sporting injuries, pneumonias, ‘pinched nerves’, asthma, strokes, cerebral palsy, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, incontinence! FICTION: Physiotherapy and physical therapy are not the same profession FACT: They are one and the same! And both of these titles, including physiotherapist and physical therapist are LEGAL titles that can only be held by someone who graduated from a recognised physio programme. A physiotherapist is the ONLY person who can perform physiotherapy! FICTION: Your doctor gives the physiotherapist instructions to follow FACT: Physios are highly trained to work with the diagnosis from a doctor, as well as findings from our own detailed assessments to determine what the best course of physiotherapy is for you. FICTION: Physiotherapy is painful! FACT: Many patients come to us because they are in pain! We aim to get rid of your pain and to get you moving as well as you can within the limits of your injury or illness. So to understand your problem, and to get better, you will have to push your limits a bit and this may cause some initial discomfort, but the ultimate results are worth the challenge! FICTION: There are physio programmes in Trinidad FACT: There are NO recognised physio programmes in Trinidad at the moment. The only programmes in the English speaking Caribbean are located in Jamaica and Guyana. FICTION: Physios perform massage and crack backs FACT: PTs use a massive tool kit in treating our patients. Massage is a small part, and done only if necessary in effecting a real positive change for the client and not just a temporary feel good sensation. We also manipulate joints if necessary. But our scope is broader and all our techniques aim to reduce pain, improve function, balance and body movement through the prescription of appropriate exercise! (If I mention all our tools, we won’t have space in this article!) FICTION: Physio is not covered by insurance FACT: All insurers cover physiotherapy to some degree, once the physiotherapist is registered to practice. But the beauty is that physio can reduce healthcare costs by preventing unnecessary scans, minimising the need for surgery, reducing hospital stay. We also improve physical outcomes after surgery much more quickly, so you can return to work or play! I hope that I have debunked some of the myths surrounding the vocation of physiotherapy/physical therapy.

But ask yourself these question…. “Would you ask your plumber to do your landscaping?” “Would you allow your nail tech to perform your abdominal surgery?” The answer to these are NO. So when you need physiotherapy, please seek treatment from a registered physiotherapist!

If you are not sure, contact to know those who are legally able to practice in T&T! ​ Dr. Stacy de Gale, PT, DPT, physiotherapist of 20 years, manager of Back In Motion Physical Therapy Services. She also sits on the Executive Board of World Physiotherapy.

She can be contacted at OR 680-9402

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Health Disclaimer:

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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