A day in the life of a Physiotherapist: Why I do what I do

“Why did you become a physiotherapist?” or some iteration of this question is something that I am often asked by patients during a treatment session. There is no grand over-arching explanation as to how I became a physiotherapist, just one very simple reason;

 

 In case my meme was not very informative, I became a physiotherapist because I had a desire to help people. When people come to a physiotherapist there are usually one of two key motivators; either a loss of function or onset of pain or the more likely occurrence, onset of pain resulting in loss of function. It can be a very distressing occurrence to lose the ability to do something that you were once able to do, though it can be just as distressing to lose something that you should have but never had in the first place.

That last bit is a bit confusing, isn’t it? When I was younger I had (and still have, though to a lesser degree) developmental dyspraxia which is a developmental disorder of the brain which causes difficulty in activities involving coordination and movement. This was something that was picked up by my Year 1 teacher and was eventually escalated to the point where I was seeing what I assume was a paediatric physiotherapist back in the late 90’s. As far as I remember I attended physiotherapy appointments over a span of about 2 years, at the time it seemed like fun and games, though I didn’t know for what purpose.

If I think back to that period in my life I can recall how ungraceful I was and how clumsy I was. While this was something that persisted over the years, with the help of the physiotherapist I was under this persisted to a much lesser degree, to the point you would never know.  My movement and my coordination became what you would consider normal. Don’t get me wrong my dyspraxia was at worst moderate but I really used to experience a high degree of difficulty on fine motor activities such as fastening a button or writing for an extended period while maintaining legibility of my writing. Thankfully, these are tasks that I would put in the category of “can do without thinking” nowadays.

It’s only now I stop to think about how a physiotherapist has impacted upon my life, how it helped me to achieve what we deem normal function. This for me is the key thing I enjoy about my profession, the ability to help restore normality and quality of life. To see a patient’s active range of movement, strength and wellbeing improve session by session, is why I do what I do. I work as a physiotherapist because I am not willing to compromise when the human body doesn’t work according to the owner’s manual. I am here to maintain and improve quality of life much in the same way physiotherapy has helped to improve my own. For me, that is what has always been about.  

Alex Curran

 

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