There aren’t many interventions in physiotherapy that are simple. That is because they involve humans – and humans tend to be complex dynamic systems and act non-linearly, wherever we go. Linear problems with simple solutions is not what we often see with humans. There are many variables in problems – but luckily often times also many possible solutions. I believe this is a good thing and that there will rarely be just one way of doing things in physiotherapy – still, I’m not saying that it does not matter what you do and that every intervention is appropriate and fine.
Modern physiotherapy should be evidence informed. We have to acknowledge that science does not have right answer to every question, but we can and should make use of the information gathered in research and combine it with our own clinical expertise. And here comes the tricky part: Understanding and recognizing the difference between science and our own beliefs. We shouldn’t pretend that our anecdotal interventions are actual scientific breakthroughs. That is a huge trap. Stories have their place, they make us who we are, but anecdotes aren’t science. When a clinician repeats the same reasoning pattern in their head often enough, outlines and argues it with a client often enough, it gets more likely that the clinician actually beliefs what they are saying is the ultimate truth. But often times it’s just in their head.
If the physiotherapist you’re seeing (or being) keeps repeating that their way of doing this or that is the best and even the only way, is strictly absolute, keeps talking trash about other professionals and their methods, and does not evolve over time, it might be a good thing to think again for yourself. There’s possibly more to it, other possible solutions, different ways of seeing and thinking about things – perhaps even better ones, that have been blinded by the anecdotes.
Being a reliable and wonderful practitioner doesn’t mean being perfect. It means being honest, humble and open-minded.
(This post has been inspired by Seth Godin’s blog posts.)