PHYSICAL THERAPY: PROMOTING GOOD HEALTH AND PREVENTION
Physical therapy is the health science discipline which, from a biopsychosocial perspective and through the application of scientific principles, promotes good health and prevention through therapeutic exercise, treatment with physical devices, and manual therapy. It is constantly developing, incorporating new advances and working in conjunction with other disciplines.
ARISTOTLE “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and therefore, the whole cannot be known by the sum of its parts”.
A global perspective on health, a culture of health
Health should be understood as something beyond the absence of illness; it is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. That is, our perspective on health is founded on the biopsychosocial model, which means relating the individual to what is happening in his/her surroundings.
This global vision is enriching the conventional concept of health that was based on the scientific paradigm: materialist, localist or reductionist. Classically, to make an in-depth study of a person’s health, he or she was divided into body and mind, and, in turn, the body was broken down into different structures (digestive system, nervous system, etc.). But the key is that everything is interrelated and makes up a whole; which is the origin of the word holism, from the Greek holos, meaning entire, total.
A symptom or the illness tells us about what is going on in our life, not only in our physical body. The symptom is a cry for attention about what is happening and it should not be treated in isolation, but rather its cause or the root of the problem should be delved into. Without losing sight of clinical reasoning, pain or dysfunction must be dealt with globally: posture, physical exercise, diet, nighttime rest, etc, as well as actively by the patient.
This leads us to another two characteristics of the classic health paradigm which must be transformed. The first is considering the patient a passive subject (hence the term “patient”), who expects healthcare professionals to provide the cure in the form of a pill or a technique, rather than changing certain unhealthy habits. The second is to always talk about the illness, instead of the ill person. This frequently leads us to erroneously expect to treat different people in the same way.
For all these reasons and with the perspective of the field of physical therapy, we support a change to a model where individuals are seen globally and as a whole, in a personalized, long-lasting way to guarantee their well-being. This global approach can only be achieved by a great team of health professionals working together humbly to deal with human complexity: doctors, optometrists, podiatrists, speech therapists, psychologists, orthodontists…Together with whom it is an honor to collaborate to help people.
Health: prevention and self-management
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that the habits we freely choose each day are responsible for 43% of our health. Our primary objective in taking care of our health must be prevention.
The body has the formidable capacity of adapting to anything that happens to it: a broken ankle which changes the way you step, scoliosis, loss of mobility…But it is like a glass of water filling up drop by drop; one day a drop causes it to overflow, that is, the body loses its capacity to adapt and breaks down. It is the case, for instance, of people who have barely ever felt pain in the lumbar region, but who, one day, bend over for whatever reason and when they go to straighten back up, find themselves locked in that position. That single instance is not the sole cause, but rather it is the sum of many things, bad habits that have led to the body’s inability to perform the movement.
This is why we consider that all of us should assume responsibility for our health, the self management of our health, with the choices we make each day: diet, nighttime rest, handling our emotions…
Physical therapy, in addition to aiding patients at a specific time of dysfunction or pain, sets out to provide them with the necessary tools to manage, inasmuch as possible, this pain of incapacity themselves: exercises to do at home, posture habits, etc.
Of course, individuals’ self-management of their health does not exempt the State, states or organisms responsible for safeguarding society’s health and also guaranteeing an individual’s ability to decide.
A patient’s description of his or her pain during an interview reveals practically all the information about the injury. THE KEY: It is finding out the why of the injury, the cause, what the chain is that has led to the injury.
A patient’s description of his or her pain during an interview reveals practically all the information about the injury.
THE KEY: It is finding out the why of the injury, the cause, what the chain is that has led to the injury.