Modern Physiotherapy- This Game’s Chess not Checkers

When we’re hurting due to an injury that we’ve suffered, it’s typical to worry about it. All sorts of thoughts and ideas go through our heads. We feel compelled to work out what the problems is, and therefore the solution to our woe. We feel inexorably drawn to Google in the search for answers. Often what such investigation reveals is that attempting to put Humpty Dumpty back together again once he’s broken, isn’t that easy as it turns out. We find our ability to discern truth in any area we lack specialist knowledge is actually quite poor. Oftentimes the best solution is to find an expert who is local to us and get their help. Humans as a species I’m afraid to say don’t come with a manual on how to fix them when they’re broken and simple solutions such that you might find via Google are unlikely to be effective for someone suffering with a complex problem.

To give you an idea of the complexity that’s involved consider that most people who visit a physiotherapist do so because they are suffering with pain somewhere in their body. This pain is obviously a manifestation of the nervous system, yet the treatment will likely focus predominantly on the musculoskeletal system. It’s the interaction between these two systems which determines the success of the treatment. This is obviously an over simplification as we also need to consider the influence of the circulatory, lymphatic and immune system as well among others as they all play important roles in the healing and repair of damaged tissues.

Physiotherapy in some respects is like playing chess. The different pieces on the board represent the different systems of the body. When the physiotherapist arrives on the scene the chess pieces are not lined up in neat rows ready for the game to proceed but are instead arranged in such a way as to indicate that the game has been going on for some time.

The physiotherapist will do an assessment to find out the position of the chess pieces and then make their move in the form of their treatment. The body responds with a counter move of its own in response. In response to the body’s response the physiotherapist will make their next move i.e. their next treatment.

Even with a single treatment there is this back and forth move and counter move. The physiotherapist treating someone with back pain may identify a stiffened joint in the spine and gently and progressively begin to move or ‘mobilise’ it. How long this process takes depends on how quickly the joint begins to move more normally once again, this might take a couple of minutes or it might take a good deal longer.

Healing is a process and not an event and so physiotherapy is also by necessity a process of progressive rehabilitationwhich might involve doing things in a certain order such as relieving pressure on a trapped nerve so that it’s conduction returns to normal before the muscle which it supplies can be effectively strengthened.

Sheffield Physiotherapy has experienced physiotherapists who are able by their diagnosis skills ascertain the treatment that is most likely provide the fastest remedy for complex spinal, joint and sports injuries. They have access to specialist treatment equipment as the clinic is one of the most technologically advanced in the country. In this way, they are able to help people who are suffering with complex problems which have failed to improve much even with previous treatment from other physiotherapists, osteopaths, or chiropractors.

When I treat someone, who is suffering with a complex problem, I don’t expect the solution to be simple and easy, I expect it to be taxing and difficult. Yet to see a lightness and joy return to someone’s demeanour who has suffered with pain for a while is worth all the hard work that’s involved in getting them better.

Written by: John Wood Specialist Physiotherapist and Clinical Director of Sheffield Physiotherapist

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The Author

Lewis Payne

Lewis graduated from The University of Nottingham in 2013 with a First Class Honours in Physiotherapy, worked as Sheffield F.C.’s first team Physiotherapist, and now runs a leading-edge private clinic in Sheffield. With over ten years of experience, he specialises in manual therapy, advanced technological treatments, and exercise-based approaches, focusing on spinal and joint conditions, sports injuries, and specifically complex spinal issues like disc pathology and scoliosis. Lewis leads in IDD Therapy, performing over 6000 treatments, offers MRI referrals and reviews, and employs a holistic treatment philosophy viewing the body as a Tensegrity structure. He excels in postural analysis, soft tissue release techniques, and prescribes biomechanical corrective exercises to enhance natural movement.