Don’t let pain or physical obstacles stop you

Your physiotherapist has got your back!

How are you feeling, right now, as you read this?

Chances are that you, or someone close to you, is in pain today. While the numbers are difficult to pin down, consistent estimates of chronic pain right across the world, in Asia, Africa, Europe and the USA offer a range from 10% of the population and 25% – that’s somewhere between one in ten and one in four people!

‘One of the biggest obstacles to leading a life of well being, of functioning at your best without having to think about it, is pain,” says Dr Witness Mudzi, president of the South African Society of Physiotherapy. ‘As physiotherapists, our mandate is to help our patients achieve their personal best, whether that’s on the sports field, in their role as a parent or employee, or simply doing what they enjoy most. So pain is obviously a huge focus for us.’

Sometimes it’s a hidden pain which the patient is unable to discuss with friends, family, or even a doctor. Physiotherapists who have taken a special interest in women’s health issues can tell tragic stories of couples who have been unable to consummate their marriages thanks to pelvic pain – fortunately, these are usually problems that can be resolved with patience and sensitive treatment.

Physiotherapists who’ve gone on to study children’s health further have many tales of assisting babies to overcome congenital conditions; those who work closely with older people know the thrill of helping someone suffering from arthritis to extend the range of motion in their fingers. From something as severe as a spinal cord injury to something as debilitating as persistent headache, physiotherapists have many tools to help people beat pain.

And not just people, either. ‘Four years of studying the human body lays an excellent foundation for going on after graduation as a physiotherapist, and study the function and structure of other mammals,’ says Dr Mudzi. A group of physiotherapists in South Africa joins colleagues round the world in the growing field of animal physiotherapy, helping animal athletes (horses, for example) and companion animals like our beloved dogs and cats to overcome injury and illness and live happy lives bouncing with energy.

‘Helping a patient, human or animal, walk – or run – away from a limiting condition which prevents them from enjoying life is a result we are able to see every day as physiotherapists,’ says Dr Mudzi. ‘It’s the best reward of all.’

Thank goodness we have world-class physiotherapists in this country. In the worst hours of your life, they’ve got your back!

To find a physiotherapist, go to www.saphysio.co.za/find-a-physio/

References available on application to nec_communications@saphysio.co.za

Issued by The South African Society of Physiotherapy - (011) 615-3170 / www.saphysio.co.za

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