Pot Calling The Kettle Black

If you’ve been in to the clinic to see one of the Stoke Physio’s, you’ve hopefully always left feeling educated and with a good understanding of what is going on and what is going to be done to achieve your goals. We pride ourselves on the fact that education is at the forefront of our approach with every client who walks in the door. If you can leave and explain to a partner exactly what is going on with your injury and all the options you have to help yourself get better, I feel like a huge chunk of progress has already been made.

In the same respect, I hope you have never felt like any of us have ever rolled our eyes at a request for further options/education on different approaches or a suggestion you may have made regarding working alongside another type of professional. I get incredibly frustrated with GP’s/sports doctors or other health professionals who discard the idea of seeing a different type of health professional (e.g perhaps a naturopath, chiro or bowen therapist) just because they don’t fully understand how these professions work or because they don’t use the same sort of evidence based practice that more main-stream professionals fall back on. They are essentially making a decision for you based on their personal opinion or area of expertise rather than educating you on all the options available to you (I understand that sometimes these are unknown or too vast to cover, but generally speaking).

Having said all that, I recently received some feedback that brought to light the fact that I had been doing exactly that. Based on my understanding and knowledge of cortisone injections, I hadn’t thought to offer this suggestion as an option to a client of mine because we hadn’t exhausted all rehab avenues yet. I also hadn’t offered it because of my opinion of cortisones and not being a huge fan of them in the first place. Basically, I acted exactly like those professionals I get so irate with by not offering or educating him on a solution that he may have preferred to go with because I felt I knew better. Based on my education and my experience dealing with the injury, I felt that exercise rehab was the best approach for this client – however it wasn’t the only approach and I failed in my role as a health professional by not explaining all the options to him.

Whether my treatment approach in the end was right or wrong isn’t so much the point of this blog as the fact that it is so easy to stick with what we know works (or what we believe to work) and to assume we know best, when our roles as health professionals are educators first and foremost. Even if this client had agreed with me in the end, he should have been given the information on all aspects available to him and been able to come to an informed decision on his own.

We have to remember as health professionals that our role is there to guide and educate those in the right direction but to keep in mind that the direction for every person may vary. We are not all knowing (although sometimes our egos say we are) and need to keep ourselves humble by remembering that each body is so vastly different and can respond to so many different options as well as the fact that our understanding of the human body is constantly evolving. One professional can’t know or do it all, so we have to be open to all possible avenues in order to be able to help our clients to the best of our abilities.

After all, we don’t know what we don’t know – do we?!

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