Over the next couple weeks, I’ll take you through a general physiotherapy assessment to figure out what you’ve been doing to beat up your back for so long and what you can do about it.
- In part one, I’ll detail the often ignored importance of a basic medical history.
- In part two, which will be posted in a few days, I’ll delve into the first component of the physical assessment: observation
- In part three, to follow next week, I’ll discuss physical testing.
- In part four, I’ll outline some potential treatment options.
- And in part five, I’ll outline what you need to do to stay out of pain.
So stick around for the next couple weeks and stop beating up your back!
Part 1: Medical History
While this component of the assessment may seem a bit mundane, it’s probably one of the most important aspects of the whole process.
My clients come in thinking they’re going to get answers. The first thing they get are questions. Lots of them!
This is where my clients always wonder why I’m asking them so many open ended questions, or whether or not those questions have anything to do why they’ve come to my clinic to see me. This is also where they wonder, sometimes out loud, why they’re paying me to “chat” with them instead of treating them!
Believe it or not, your medical history will almost always give clues as to the cause and extent of any of your mobility problems. As I’ve stated numerous times before, without knowing the nature of the root cause of your physiotherapy issues, it’s almost impossible to resolve them.
This remains the case with relieving low back pain as well.
Not only does your medical history help with ruling out red flags or serious pathology that require medical intervention, it’ll also give me the clues that I need to figure out what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and potential methods on how we can fix it.
This could be something as simple as you telling me that you work 60 hours a week sitting at a computer or hunched over a drafting table.
It could be you describing what time of day the pain is better or worse.
It could be you just stating, in your own words, what types of activities are easy or challenging for you.
Or it could be you simply describing the type or quality of your pain and discomfort.
And these questions are just the first steps. Gathering all the pertinent information from the medical history sets the foundation for your physiotherapy assessment that follows.
What may seem simple or innocuous to you might actually be the clue that opens up another direction of questions and queries, all intent on helping you find your path to pain free living.
Yours in movement.