I am not really what you might consider a health and fitness buff but I did have my share of going to the gym once in a while. I guess I was simply too busy with work that I can hardly squeeze any time to go to the gym. However, I found out that even working in the office can lead to some musculoskeletal problems which would require the expertise of a physiotherapist. Good thing there is a physical therapy Werribee clinic near my place so I can just go there anytime I need to.
I first visited the physiotherapy clinic when our company doctor recommended seeing a physiotherapist for the continued management of my chronic low back pain. He did gave me some pain medications but said that it is only temporary so our doctor recommended a slightly different approach.
My first concern was the physiotherapy costs as I knew it was a special kind of treatment that requires a more hands-on approach to my chronic low back pain as well as other musculoskeletal problems. But, given that my chronic low back pain sometimes makes me miss my day at the office or be less productive than I should, I thought it is going to be more practical to have my musculoskeletal problems managed now than suffer in the long run. So that was my mindset.
Visiting the Werribee physical therapy clinic is like taking on a journey of discovery. They would take a very comprehensive assessment of my health status but mostly about my pain experiences, problems in mobility, and range of motion as well as other health parameters. Sometimes I would be required to undergo several physiologic tests to determine the state of my muscle strength, muscle tone, and other characteristics of my musculature.
In my first-ever visit, the assessment phase was extensive. I had to supply them with the necessary health information including my family’s health and medical history. I also had to undergo several diagnostic and laboratory tests to help describe my current health status. It was nerve-wracking at first but totally liberating. I found comfort in the fact that, aside from my chronic low back pain, I was generally healthy. Unfortunately, my low back pain is severely affecting my ability to perform different tasks of daily living. And with it, my quality of life.
The assessment findings formed the backbone of the clinical diagnosis and the plan of care for me by the physiotherapists at the Werribee physical therapy clinic. The clinical diagnosis is important as it is the target problem that needs to be resolved. All treatment goals and objectives are developed and planned carefully to address this particular problem. The different clinical objectives will then form the backbone of what physiotherapy clinical interventions will work best towards the accomplishment of the objectives.
To manage my chronic low back pain, I was subjected to a variety of therapeutic modalities like alternating hot and cold compress applications, ultrasound, iontophoresis, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. These physical therapy treatments are called passive therapeutic modalities as the patient does not do anything; the treatments are simply performed on the patient and not with the patient. The whole point in these treatments is to alleviate the pain, reduce the swelling or the inflammation, and/or improve overall mobility.
For example, I found out that iontophoresis is like getting an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug except that they don’t use a needle to introduce the medicine into the body; they use electrical currents. This is also almost similar to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation whereby electrodes are introduced into the tissue to reduce the intensity of both acute and chronic pain. Hot and cold applications also have their benefits.
I also found out that ultrasound was not only for pregnant women but also used by physical therapists in the management of a variety of musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, muscle strain, bursitis, scar tissue adhesion, and even rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a few.
Aside from these passive physiotherapy treatments, there are also active ones. Personally, I prefer the active treatments because I feel I am more empowered to manage my own low back pain. These treatment modalities are not sophisticated but they do work. It includes stretching and strengthening the muscles of my back as well as low-impact aerobic exercises to help reduce my chronic pain. At first I was sceptical. But after several sessions with the clinic, I felt a dramatic reduction in my chronic back pain. I never thought that these simple exercises were the key to living relatively free from pain.
I never would have learned all of these had I let my worries about costs dictate my decisions. I’m sure glad I made the right choice. Now, I am always looking forward to my physiotherapy sessions wondering what I will be learning next. It has been a wonderful journey of discovery and musculoskeletal healing.