Over the past 8 years there have been many aspects of my life with chronic pain that I’ve found challenging. In my last column I covered sleep but something else that has proven to be tricky is physiotherapy. Many people often think of physiotherapy as something you do short term to support an injury, but when you live with chronic pain, a joint condition, a connective tissue condition or similar, physiotherapy can become a long term tool. Last week we celebrated all the wonderful work that our physios do here at Leva Clinic for World Physiotherapy Day, and this week I’m going to continue that by sharing my journey with physiotherapy.
I live with a condition called Marfan Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can affect the heart, eyes, joints and more, but with the lens of physiotherapy it’s the joint hypermobility that has had me making journeys back and forth to various physios over the years. As a teenager the problems started in my knees, they were weak and painful and so I was sent for 6 sessions of physiotherapy at my local hospital. This was a formula that would begin to repeat itself over the next few years and I began to wonder why nothing was improving. We also tried splints and supports to try and give me more stability, but again, these were ineffective.
It’s only now, years later, that I’ve started to see where we were going wrong. Conversations with various healthcare professionals, including Leva Clinic’s own amazing physiotherapists, and my involvement in writing the Leva Clinic Pain Management Programme has opened my eyes. For someone like me with a long term health condition physiotherapy is most effective when it becomes an everyday part of your life, rather than something you do in short bursts. Sports injuries may improve in 6 sessions of physio, but when you live with a long term condition physiotherapy is more about keeping you consistently strong and introducing movement to your life on a daily basis.
The minute I started viewing physiotherapy as a daily part of my life was the moment that I started benefitting from it. It is also so important to have a physiotherapist who understands your condition and how hard to push you. When I’ve seen physiotherapists at my local hospital I’ve often felt like what we were doing hadn’t been adjusted for my condition. I was doing the same exercises that someone without chronic pain would be doing, and so it was always going to cause more problems than it solved.
After all these years I have finally learnt that the key to benefitting from physiotherapy is all about finding yourself an understanding physio who will work with you to create a daily routine that will help support your body and life. Here at Leva Clinic we have physiotherapists ready and waiting to help you discover how physiotherapy can support you to do the things you love.