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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

“Hurt You Better” - What Happened to Physiotherapy?

I recently went to see The Little Big Things musical in Soho, it was an absolutely superb performance with a story about the reality of Disability and the power of determination and grit. It’s also an amazing example of how representation, when done correctly, can be a truly beautiful thing.

Unfortunately this blog is not about the performance, but it did trigger a few thoughts that I wanted to get on paper.

One of my favourite characters was the Physio, Agnes. She is depicted as a wheelchair user, which is awesome, but rare in my experience. I would have so loved to have had a Disabled Physiotherapist to relate to in my youth. Upon introduction she says:

“I’m going to hurt you better”.

When I was a child I hated my physio sessions, I would purposely act out and be difficult for them. At the time it was impossible to understand how something so painful could be good for me. I now recognise that my paediatric physiotherapy changed my life in some of the most meaningful ways, improving function and ultimately giving me many years of good mobility.

Back then, I remember the manipulation of my joints and passive stretching where my range of movement was constantly monitored with the end goal always being improvement. It was truly painful, but the results spoke for themselves, something I wasn’t conscious of at the time.

As an adult I have had several referrals to Physio, but they have never touched me and moved my joints the way they used to. In fact they barely touch me at all. With limited muscle power I cannot take my limbs through their full range of motion independently, as a result I’m actually losing range. This leads to further complications including pain, muscle loss and soft tissue calcification.

The irony is that, now I know I need the physio, I have no access to it. Despite the pain, I would love a hands on physio to establish a personal stretching plan to help me maintain what I have. Alas, this doesn’t appear to be available within the NHS healthcare system and private physio is expensive and hard to sustain.

Physiotherapy is a powerful preventative tool against the progression of joint damage and loss of function yet I am unable to access this. How can this be?

Where are all the hands-on Physio’s?

Why do Physio’s no longer engage in passive stretching and soft tissue massage?

These are genuine questions I would like answers to. I would love to have a Physio like Agnes “hurt me better” and help me establish a stretching routine that’ll help me maintain what I have. Preventative therapies will, in the long run, save the NHS time and money. Not to mention improving the functionality and quality of life in adult patients.

So I would like to know, from any Physios out there, why don’t you touch me any more, and why are adult patients with chronic conditions kept outside the system with no access to therapy?

Ps. Anyone who fancies taking on my strange body as a personal project please send in your suggestions at will, I’ll take any help I can get!

Image Description: Horse Riding - still one of the best forms of Physiotherapy.

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1 Comment

Feb 01

I have no idea, but it’s desperately needed, my pelvis kept going out post pregnancy and they refused to manually realign it, I had to pay an osteopath to do so. I couldn’t do my exercises without this being done. So my physio became totally pointless.

They have also in my area removed all the disabled accessible hydrotherapy pools and now use a public swimming pool which is totally not disabled friendly and doesn’t count as hydrotherapy

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