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Have you ever outdone yourself and had to face the consequences?

I remember a long walk I took last summer that turned into a journey to a destination somewhere up ahead. While the heat of the day hung on me, the never ending sidewalk stretched ahead crossing one intersection after another. When I finally returned home, I needed a nap and found that I couldn't sleep on my one side for the throbbing pain in my thigh. Realizing I had outdone myself, I later learned that my iliotibial band*, which is not a muscle, had stretched.

For temporary relief I tried various drugs and rubs including heat, but the pain would not go away. I finally talked to my doctor who prescribed physiotherapy treatments.

Physiotherapists are described as highly skilled and autonomous health professionals who provide safe, quality client-centred physiotherapy through a commitment to service availability, accessibility, and excellence. The profession is shaped by understanding how and why movement and function take place. When something in your body needs attention, I found that working on the problem with a professional can be a profound learning experience.

We Canadians live in a unique health care system. Being healthy in Canada has little to do with financial status but more to do with the desire to stay healthy. A doctor's referral in hand and being over 65 (more like 39) I qualified for complimentary treatments at a local clinic. As it seemed my experience was one step backward but two big steps forward.

Being healthy in Canada has little to do with financial status but more to do with the desire to stay healthy.

What happens in a physiotherapy centre?

To start with it's a very social place. People are interacting with each other, asking questions and getting instructions. You meet a friendly receptionist who is busy scheduling patients for their appointments. She will assign you to your primary care worker who is a registered physiotherapist. Naturally everything is professional.

Initially I expected to feel intimated by someone who knows more about my body than I do, but this was hardly the case. The therapist's approach was both deliberate and unassuming. We met privately, and Becky (first names are OK) began by asking me about any health concerns/conditions and any medications or diseases. Of course, she wanted to know about the pain I was experiencing, and there was ample time given to this.

Then the interesting part of my interview began. Since it could have been any one or number of muscle systems in my case, my therapist began a scientific process of elimination and identified the IT Band as the source of my pain. She further manipulated the band, massaging out any "knots" to restore it to its original condition. It was obvious she knew what to do and had the skills to back it up.

The next step was to design a program to improve the affected areas by stretching the IT band and strengthening the weakened neighbouring thigh muscles. My program consisted of three exercises with more added on as I progressed. Jennifer, who works in the gym, explained these routines while helping me do them correctly to get a maximum benefit. She set up a schedule including pictures for easy comprehension of the exercises for me to access and update. I did my 30-minute exercise routine at home that took extra work, but it paid off for me in the end and my pain greatly subsided.

Over the course of my treatment I was aware of others who crossed new bridges during their recovery to an improved quality of life. It certainly applied to me, and I now have a renewed understanding and respect for what I can and cannot do.©

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Art of Physiotherapy


February 15, 2015


James Kershaw


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Jim Kershaw says

December 15, 2016,

Since by treatment a year ago I haven't had any trouble with my IT band and I enjoy walking.

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