And I assume the thought crossed the minds of many of you that a blanket statement like this may be in bad taste, particularly when coming from a chiropractor.
I was once guilty of making such generalizations.
My decision to become a chiropractor originated from the effective and successful management of a hockey-related low back injury I sustained in grade 10. Prior to the significant improvements in function and reduction in pain with chiropractic care, I was receiving frequent care from a physiotherapist with little to show for it. Frustrated, I sought out alternative treatment methods.
The shift in my improvement after changing healthcare providers kick-started my chiropractic career path. I thought it would be an incredibly rewarding experience to help people in the same way I was helped many years ago. When I used to tell the story of how and why I became a chiropractor, I'd often mention without hesitation the failed management of my condition with physiotherapy.
While in chiropractic school and after speaking to numerous health practitioners I realized that my isolated experience and opinion of physiotherapy wasn't just. How could one base their opinion of a whole profession on such a limited interaction and experience with one person in the profession?
Physio didn't fail me. The particular treatment approach for my condition did.
Had my isolated experience with physiotherapy been more favorable, I have no doubt in my mind that I would have set my career path in that direction.
Now, I'm fortunate enough to know a number of excellent therapists/doctors that, irrespective of their profession, have incredible results with their patients/clients. I'm proud to be a chiropractor, but I don't let the title on the degree define me. If you're a massage therapist, physiotherapist, chiropractor, osteopath, etc. and you're getting people better - that's all that matters.
I've omitted the "physiotherapy didn't work for me" statement from my chiropractic story long before my graduation from chiropractic college, but now I find myself in a position where I'm hearing the stories of others as they consult me with regards to the management of their aches, pains, and past experiences.
The phrase and title of this post could have any alternative health profession or treatment method inserted in place of "physiotherapy". Trust me, I've heard the gamut in my discussions with my patients. I'm sure physiotherapists, massage therapists, etc. also hear of "failed" therapies or treatment modalities - chiropractic included.
Without jumping to the unconditional defense of any one practitioner or profession, I think it's important to acknowledge the difference between a treatment approach not fitting for a particular person or condition vs. the generalization that [insert profession/therapy] doesn't work.
My request to those reading this is that you won't criticize any one profession based off little-to-no experience with it like I did many years ago. Unlike restaurant chains that standardize their recipes, portion sizes, etc., you will not get the same type of treatment from every provider within any one profession. Sometimes "exhausting" conservative treatment options involves not only looking at other professions, but also looking at different providers within the same profession.