4 Physio Mantras To Live By In 2014

Before you go ahead and say “this guy has lost it”, I better explain what is going on here. Some longer term readers may be aware that in the past this site has featured some lighter more relaxed, or even colloquial blog posts. These are not the research and reference rich articles, but those which discuss issues related to the greater physiotherapy community. Some of the more popular blog articles include:

As you can see they probably won’t influence your evidence based practice but are more likely to influence your mindset or perspective.

A little enlightenment can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Well in recent times, I have become a little obsessed with quotes. To be completely honest, I think the staff at the clinic are sick of the post-it notes all over the place. Nonetheless I press on. Thus, I present a few mantras I have heard, adapted or made up for the physios to live by in the coming year (or anytime really!).

How To Take The Following

Whilst the following are a few little mantras that I try to live by, I often have to remind myself (as will you) of the implications of ignoring these little chestnuts. By no means am I on a soapbox looking down upon you, as we head into the silly season we may just need a few little reminders to keep our eyes on the prize.

1. “Lazy physio = lazy patients”

Someone once told me you should never trust a fat physio (sorry @FatPhysio). Whilst I didn’t necessarily agree with that statement, I know what they are getting at. If all you do is simply “rinse and repeat” your sessions… your treatments, exercises etc (read: be a lazy physio) you will soon find that the patient will lose interest in your treatment. Soon enough they will be ignoring your rehabilitation advice and disregarding your home exercise program. Eventually, they will be added to your list of failed patients.

You know what, this was probably put better by the early 19th century American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (funny that) when he said:

“Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm”

Clinical Implication: don’t be lazy, be inspirational… all day long.

2. “If you don’t emphasise, they won’t exercise”

I hear the astute physios saying “hang on, isn’t that the same as number one?”. And the answer is probably yes, but it rhymes…and echoes the importance of a regularly reviewed home rehabilitation program. More than once I have caught myself saying to an exiting patient “and just carry on with those same exercises” as though it was simply an afterthought. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t see that patient feeling as though their home exercise program was the most important part of our session, even when it probably was.

Clinical Implication: review, refresh and emphasise exercises… all day long. It is absolutely essential for compliance. Don’t believe me: check out this post on improving patient compliance.

3. “If you try to be everything to everyone, you will be nothing to no-one”

Now this might seem a bit philosophical (and an obvious double negative), but it does make a lot of sense. At Uni, we had a highly experienced Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy lecturer that would regularly and proudly announce “I wouldn’t know… I’m not a musculoskeletal physiotherapist”! There I was thinking; what a cop out… how come I’ve got to pass your awfully boring subject (sorry CP physios) and then my musculoskeletal physiotherapy exam the day after? But now I know she simply following this mantra, she had her area of expertise and stuck with it!

Understandably you may be thinking “Duh, I am already specialising in sports!”. And that’s great. But maybe you could be even more specialised… even more of an expert in one field, one industry, or even one joint? Check this out for some inspiration:

Clinical Implication: do what you do well… all day long, for the rest: make a great referral. Don’t believe me? Michael Port’s brilliant text Book Yourself Solid is built on this premise.

4. “Narrow focus = narrow results”

Scratching your head about why your patient isn’t improving with your textbook, evidence based, gold standard treatment? Ask yourself “how narrow is my focus?” Now I don’t want this to be just: you should assess the hip for patellofemoral pain or the cervical spine for tennis elbow, it clearly needs to be much more profound than that!

We all know that there are multiple facets to an individual’s health each which determines their level of physical function… sometimes we just forget. Some areas to broaden your thought process may include:

Clearly, there are many other areas that could be targeted – but this will get you started!

Clinical Implication: broaden your clinical perspective… all day long.

What Are Your Thoughts?

What do you reckon about these mantras? Life changing or pointless dribble? You know what…

Let us know your mantra for 2014

We would all love to know! Be sure to leave your mantra in the comments below or you could:

Photo Credit: Nic Redhead