Are My Hands Better Than Tramadol?

A few days ago, one of our regular patients slowly shuffled into our waiting room and gingerly took a seat.  As our wonderful receptionist, Elaine, ran to make her comfortable, get her a hotpack and make sure she was feeling okay, I overheard her explain that she had slipped on some wooden floors and landed on her buttocks and low back!  Ouch! Sounded painful and it was!  She could barely move and she had been on heavy painkillers since it had happened 10 days ago.

As I slowly and gently worked on her back she sighed, visibly relaxed and said “Oh finally, there is some relief from the pain.  I have been in agony and the Tramadol just wasn’t helping.  This is the first time I have felt a little bit better.”

“Wow,” she said after a pause. “That means that your hands are even better pain relief than Tramadol!”

Now, I wouldn’t go quite as far to say that hands-on physiotherapy is better than taking opioids to help manage someone’s pain, but, it has been my experience that physiotherapists can make significant and quick changes to people’s pain by using our hands. 

When I first graduated, physiotherapy tended to be heavily reliant on machines as a treatment modality to help provide some temporary pain relief.  Unfortunately, this means that old school physiotherapists that continue to be reliant on ultrasound and interferential will be stuck treating the symptoms of the complaint, rather than the cause. 

However, as I became more experienced as a physiotherapist, I discovered that hands-on therapy does much more that provide temporary pain relief.  It helps to completely resolve painful symptoms by addressing and treating the underlying cause of the symptoms.  I also soon learnt that the hands of a skilled therapist could tell much more about the patient’s body and movement issues than any feedback system on a machine.   That is why when I started Physique six years ago, I set a strict no machines policy for all our therapists to adhere to. 

Over the years, I have come to firmly believe that the best way to take away pain is to correct poor movement patterns and resolve the joint and soft tissue issues that are causing the symptoms.  The only way to achieve is through a combination of gentle, hands-on manual therapy techniques and specific exercise prescription.   

At Physique, we spend hours every week honing our therapeutic techniques through inservices and treatment sessions on each other.  We regularly attend professional development courses and we have become experts at not only diagnosing the reason for your pain and suffering, but also at addressing these issues using manual therapy.  We love the amount of positive feedback we receive from our community members about the real results they have achieved through Physique and all of us are committed to providing personalised, caring and effective treatment.

I am extremely proud of our therapists at Physique.  We have all worked very hard to improve our hands-on treatment skills and our patients agree on how effective it is.  It might be time to give us call and see if we can help your pain as well.  While I can’t guarantee that everyone will think our hands-on treatment is better than taking opioids; I can safely say that at Physique, we will make a difference.