Patient Case study - education is key
A recent client whom I treated who had had a recent consultation with another therapist and advised that her pain due to her “scoliosis” (an s or c shaped sideways curvature in the spine) and advised that she would need months and months of treatment at great cost. Thankfully she felt that this was a bit dramatic to say the least and decided to seek further opinion. On my assessment I noted a mild scoliosis which I explained was a curvature of the spine which is very normal in the population and does not have to be a cause of pain. I even explained that I myself have a scoliosis and am able to lift, run and cycle with no issues. This helped reassure her, which I believe to be integral to helping decrease anxiety and encourage meaningful activity. With some guidance regarding exercise to strength and condition this client felt so much better within 2 weeks and was happy to continue her own management.
The significant thing in my approach is that I appropriately reassured rather than create a threat/worry as she experienced previously, and I also gave this lady the understanding and control to help herself rather than taking control away from her and trying to create a dependency for passive treatment over many months which has no evidence base. I see many people having regular treatments but when I ask have they been explained what’s going on or if they themselves have a programme of exercises to help themselves I unfortunately commonly find both lacking. Treatment should be a collaboration between two experts namely the therapist and patient and as a physiotherapist I explain we are not fixers but rather facilitators toward helping achieve the client’s goals.
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