One of the most common questions when you meet someone is, “What do you do for work?” For me, that question seems to always lead to tales of the person having an injury (past or present) and/or telling me their previous experiences with physiotherapists and clinics.
A common theme in that discussion is that physiotherapy doesn’t work. Someone will say to me: “Oh. . . I went to physio for my _______ (insert body part here) and it didn’t help me at all.”
Now, there are many things I want to say or ask in response to this question. But the main point usually boils down to this, what is the treatment philosophy at the clinic where you chose to receive your care. In a lot of cases many people who didn’t benefit from physiotherapy treatment often had an experience where they saw their physiotherapist for five to 10 minutes and then were passed off to an assistant to be hooked up to different machines for a large portion of time.
In the physiotherapy world these different machines are often referred to as (therapeutic) modalities. Examples of these would be ultrasound, laser, and electrotherapy agents such as IFC and TENS. Modality-based physiotherapy has become a mainstay in the physiotherapy world and a staple, often accounting for a large portion, of the clients treatment plan. The real kicker is that there is little evidence that shows that these modalities work.
As one of many examples, studies have shown that there is very little proof that active ultrasound is more effective than placebo ultrasound. This means, if you literally don’t turn the machine on, you can still see the same results across injury rehabilitation. Some people may be bothered by these remarks but truth be told a placebo (although sometimes effective) or temporary pain reliever will only take you so far in your recovery.
In my opinion, modality-heavy sessions cause a reliance on a machine to get rid of pain instead of empowering clients to learn how to effectively deal with and mitigate their pain through education and home exercise programs. The other issue with treatment plans that rely heavily on modalities is the quality of care. You, as the client, may feel like you are getting your money’s worth because the physical time spent at the clinic is longer, however, you may fail to realize that seeing your physiotherapist one-on-one for less than five to 10 minutes may not reflect quality care.
All that being said, some modalities may have validity for certain case scenarios to assist, being the key word, in the healing process but a surplus of modalities should not be automatically used on every client to fill time, or make a client feel like they got their money’s worth, and should definitely not be solely used to increase clinic profits. Think quality is greater than quantity.
As a physiotherapist and physiotherapy clinic owner, my clientele’s best interests are at heart, which is why I seldom treat with the use of any modalities. At the clinic there is no ultrasound or laser machines, but a TENS machine does make its very rare appearance. There are lots of things you should consider when choosing a facility to receive your physiotherapy care. After all, you’re going to be spending your hard earned dollars there. I use our time together during your assessment to develop a treatment plan tailored to your personal and injury specific needs, consecutive follow up treatments create change through continued education, hands-on treatment techniques and exercise prescription/progression. I feel as though it is my duty as your physiotherapist to empower you to move more and move well and that the clinic’s success should be based upon the ability to improve client’s quality of life.
For more information or to book an appointment call 705-380-3312 or visit the website . Surge Physiotherapy is located at 33 King William Street, Suite 204, in Huntsville. Office hours are flexible with evening appointments available (3x/week). Email – email@example.com
Stephanie is a bilingual, Registered Physiotherapist with the College of Physiotherapist of Ontario and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association who is committed to providing a hands on, personalized approach to physiotherapy.
Stephanie, a native to the Huntsville community, developed a passion for health and wellness during her youth while competing in cross-country running, nordic skiing, and track and field. Stephanie has always had a strong caring nature and fell in love with the physiotherapy profession while volunteering at a physiotherapy clinic during high school and university.
Stephanie continued to build on her passion for health care by attending McGill University and completing her Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology. During her Masters in Health Science of Physiotherapy, completed at the University of Ottawa, she completed internships in orthopaedic clinics, hospitals, home care, and neurology centres.