The dangers of physiotherapy and being unassertive

When you see a physiotherapist nobody tells you that it can be dangerous, that you can be injured either by what the physiotherapist does to you or by the exercises or advice that you are given. I saw a physiotherapist regarding a knee problem a couple of months ago. To test the strength of my quad muscles, he asked me to lie on a plinth (similar to a massage table) in a semi-reclining position where the back of the plinth is raised at a 45° angle. He then asked me to lift each leg in turn as many times as I was able to. I was aware from the start that my semi-reclining posture was not right, but I did not feel confident enough to challenge him. I find that these incidents happen so quickly that you do not always react in the best way. In hindsight I could have asked him to simply adjust the angle of the back part of the plinth so that my back was properly supported. Anyway, the following day my back hurt and this continued for a few days thankfully it eased off eventually. It seems obvious that raising your legs in the semireclining position would put a lot of strain on the lower back.

Unfortunately this incident of being injured through physiotherapy is not a one-off in my case. I tore my medial meniscus in my left knee after following the wobble board exercises that a physiotherapist had given me. On another occasion a physiotherapist tried to strengthen my knees by getting me to lift heavy weights in the gym. This caused pains in my feet. If you are taking a medication there is normally a leaflets in the medication box that lists a whole range of possible side-effects that you can get from taking the medication. However there is no similar system with physiotherapists and the exercises they prescribe.

On another occasion recently I was helping a friend, John, clear out a garage. He passed me a box that felt quite heavy. I thought that because I was in a good posture it was okay for me to carry the heavy box. Over the following days I felt discomfort all around my waist. Rather than simply rest this time I decided to use some ice and whether it was the rest all the ice after a couple of days the pain receded again. I think that the mistake that I made was that I thought that because I was in a good posture it was okay to carry the box. However because I haven’t been lifting much recently it was clearly too much for me. As with the physiotherapist it was also a problem with not being assertive enough. In the case of the box if I had refused to carry it it wouldn’t really have been a problem. John could have simply emptied some items from it and I would have been able to have carried it then I think. He might have been reluctant to have done this because he was wanting to get the job done so it is difficult in the moment to resist the pressure of somebody being persuasive through their body language and tone of voice.