There are a number of myths and misconceptions about physiotherapy, including what it’s for, what’s involved and how much it costs.
So, we’re aiming to dispel some of these and explain what an effective form of treatment it can be.
Graeme Everard, joint director of CSPC physiotherapy and a chartered physiotherapist commented: “Physiotherapy can help people of all ages stay fit and healthy. There are however a few myths that prevent people from having physiotherapy that need to be overcome to ensure that as many people as possible benefit from it.
“We often see people at our clinic who have been living with pain and discomfort for some time assuming it was simply due to age, but who have improved significantly with appropriate physiotherapy treatment.”
So, what are the common physiotherapy myths?
Myth 1 – Physiotherapy treatment is just for sports injuries
When asked to describe a physiotherapist, people often describe a specialist sports physiotherapist on a pitch side assisting an injured player, however this is far from a full picture of the profession.
Physiotherapy can be used to help a diverse group of people wanting to keep active. They take time to understand a client’s objectives – from being able to do the gardening pain-free to overcoming breathing pattern dysfunctions – by providing a bespoke treatment plan.
Myth 2 – Physiotherapy treatment consists of just setting exercises or massage
The myth about a one-size-fits-all exercise-led approach is widely believed, however by visiting a private physiotherapist, people can be confident of receiving more than simply a list of exercises, which in some cases can cause additional problems.
People have different problems and want to meet different objectives. Bespoke plans will regularly be developed which could consist of a combination of activities and techniques including visceral treatment, acupuncture or manual therapy.
Myth 3 – Physiotherapy is expensive and you have to keep going back
People regularly let the perceived expense of seeing a physiotherapist keep them in pain or discomfort.
Graeme continued: “Physiotherapy can be used to help a diverse group of people wanting to keep active. Physiotherapists take time to understand a client’s objectives – from wanting to garden pain-free to overcoming breathing pattern dysfunctions – and advising on a bespoke treatment.”
The NHS estimates that 31 million work days are lost every year due to bad backs.1 Combine this with the fact that many employers only pay statutory sick pay (£89.35 per week) on sickness absence lasting over four days2, and the cost of taking time off from work can be costly. So it really can be worthwhile investing in treatment sooner to avoid more serious financial implications further down the line.
Financial concerns relating to accessing this treatment can be alleviated by taking out a health care cash plan which can help towards the cost of visiting a therapist.
Russ Piper, chief executive of cash plan provider Sovereign Health Care, said: “For just a small monthly payment, cash plans allow holders to claim money back towards a range of everyday health care costs, including trips to the physiotherapist, dentist, optician and many more.
“Physiotherapy can help people deal with injuries and other health issues, and to stay fit and healthy. It’s important that people are aware that cash plans are there to help them afford the treatment they need.”
Myth 4 – Physiotherapy is always painful
Sessions can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it isn’t always the case; it depends on the treatment and the problems being addressed.
Elite sport massage can be painful however this isn’t needed for the majority of physiotherapy patients. The objective of treatments is always to allow for pain free movement and there is a broad range of techniques to achieve this, many of which are totally pain free.
Myth 5 – Physiotherapists will only treat the injured area
The human body is a series of interconnected parts, each of which supports and in turn is supported by others. Physiotherapy treatment includes investigation into why a pain is being experienced, and where it originates from, which can help determine underlying issues.
Graeme added: “Pain is often referred from elsewhere, for example, pain in the knee may be coming from your lower back, and therefore simply treating the knee would not be effective. As physiotherapists we aim not just to treat the symptoms but seek to find the root cause of your problem in order to deliver an effective treatment plan to help get you back fit and healthy.”