The bogeymen- Good Physio vs Bad Physio
” You are all out of alignment”, ”you have flat feet”, ”you have one leg longer than the other”, ”your pelvis is twisted” etc. These are often given as the ”obvious reason” for somebody’s pain, without any real evidence behind the diagnosis. There is no doubt biomechanics and posture can affect the body, but what I don’t like is the way this is sometimes overdone, often being used as a sales pitch to scare somebody into excessive treatments more than anything else.
There is no such thing as a free lunch – good physio vs bad physio
Here is a typical example. A lady rings me sounding quiet anxious on the phone. She asks if she can book in with me for a spinal assessment. I ask her why. She says that she had a ”free spinal assessment” in the gym by a health practitioner who told her she was all out of alignment and would need at least 20 adjustments over several weeks at a cost of 500 euro to sort her out, or she could end up in agonizing pain for the rest of her life in the not too distant future. Also this person told her that if she booked 20 treatment sessions and paid in advance they would give her 2 extra free.
I asked this lady if she had any pain prior to the ”free assessment”. She said no. I asked her if she had any accident in the last couple of years. She said she was involved in a minor car crash several years ago. The practitioner was aware of this from the detailed history she obtained from the client. The practitioner told the client that this car accident was probably where it all started. I asked the lady what she worked at. She said she worked as a gym instructor. Now she was quiet anxious and was telling me she wouldn’t be able to afford the 500 euro and would have to take out a loan. I said ”hold on a second”. You are training and jumping around all day and lifting weights etc. You are in absolutely no pain. You go for a ”free spinal assessment” and all of a sudden you are meant to be a crock. Think about it. The whole thing makes no sense. Sit down, have a cup of tea, think about how ridiculous what you have been told is and ring me back in a few minutes if you still want and appointment. She rang back a few minutes later, thanking me for putting her mind at rest….obviously she did not book an appointment lol….but I was happy to hear the relief in her voice and appreciative that she rang me back to thank me.
Now let us analyse the above a little. Step 1. ”Free assessment”, that is to suck you in. Step 2. Do a detailed history take to find out if you can latch onto some accident or the like to help with the scare tactics(there is absolutely nothing wrong in a detailed history take in itself, a practitioner needs it to try and identify what might be causing the pain). Step 3. Do an assessment of the spine ”by the way” feeling all along it so you can tell the person where they are all out of alignment. Find a few tender spots maybe where the joints are a little locked up, press on them to induce pain. Step 4. Break it to them gently…they are a crock, it is down hill from here, all because of that minor traffic accident Step 5. Come to their rescue but charge them a fortune. Book them in for multiple sessions in advance(offer a discount) and get them to pay up front while they are still scared. Step 6. Treat them for 10 minutes several times a week. Convince them they are getting better and that you are realigning everthing. Step 7. If they are vulnerable or nieve enough, try and get another 20 sessions out of them, maybe sell them a pair of orthotics as well(Tell them they have one leg longer than the other and these will help to realign them. Pull one leg down more than the other or have the legs slightly off centre to show them. Most people won’t look any way and will just take the practitioner’s at their word ). Happy days.
I would say at least over 90 per cent of people who have been told they have one leg longer than the other by somebody, when I retested them, showed no difference in leg length.
Also young children are regularly prescribed orthotics for flat feet. This is very lucrative for the prescriber, when you have to get a new pair off them every year, as the kid grows. Most young kids have flat feet. It is because they have not developed fully yet. This changes over time, and the foot arch becomes more pronounced, as they grow and mature. Often these kids were not even in pain when prescribed orthotics. Somebody just diagnosed them as having flat feet, that they needed orthotics and the parent wanting the best for their child got suckered. What have kids done in previous centuries? There is no history of the human race having been doomed to foot problems, especially in childhood. Get them decent footwear and make sure they tie their laces up properly. I have seen many parents almost looking for postural problems in healthy kids, due to being brain washed by social media and false advertisements. ”Flat feet” is not a medical condition in itself that needs to be treated per se.
Probably one of the more outrageous stories I have been told by several clients is where a certain practitioner got them to stand up on two weighing scales, one foot on each, and told them not to look down. The practitioner then proceeded to tell them that one side of their body is a stone or more heavier than the other side. This is ridiculous beyond belief. Carry a bag with a stone weight in it on one side of your body and see can you walk around totally unaware of it until somebody points it out.
Of course not every health professional is like this and thankfully most are genuine, but I have seen the likes of the above becoming a more and more regular occurrence. Do you want to know what it really feels like to have one leg longer than the other? Tape a small book to your shoe and walk around for a day. Do you want to know what it feels like to be really out of alignment? Try going around for a day with your upper body slightly twisted at the waist or or keep your head twisted in one direction for a day. It won’t take long before you are in severe discomfort. If there are all these people going around with pelvises that twist so easily out of alignment and are structurally that unstable, how do weight lifters lift such huge weights, and rugby players run into each other in high speed tackles. Yet some little eight stone practitioner will claim to be able to put you back in place with some little twist or by pushing with their fingers. The body is much more stable than that. You might have a locked joint, a tight muscle, even a bulging disk but it is unlikely you are all out of alignment unless you have some genetic predisposition to scoliosis or something along those lines. People with severe scoliosis are usually unfortunately in extreme discomfort, often awaiting surgery, that often in this country never comes.
Scoiliosis – Good Physio vs Bad Physio
Sometimes people with back pain are told they have scoliosis. Often the scoliosis in these cases is so negligible in appearance, you have to look twice to make sure it is even there. True scoliosis can be very debilitating, but there is a major difference between that and something you can hardly see…………I come across way more kyphosis from poor posture contributing to back pain than scoliosis. Kyphosis due to poor posture is often something you can correct if caught in time, with strengthening, stretching and mobilization work etc. For an excellent article on the kinds of stuff I have referred to above, go to the link below.
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