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Thirst 4 Function Blog

My Opinion On The Secret Physio’s Diary

Saw this article in the Guardian this

The secret physio’s diary: ‘I talk to
him about lifestyle changes. He glazes

It’s a brief account of a Physio’s week
working with patients

and most notably the frustration of
working with those patient’s who

‘refuse to help themselves.’

Tuesday’s account was this:

“A 28-year-old woman comes to see me,
complaining of severe back pain.

She is morbidly obese and I am unable to
examine her fully by getting her on the
clinic plinth – her weight is beyond its
safe working limit.

I am limited to advising her on managing
her pain and trying to convince her that
movement and exercise are the best route
to recovery. She assures me that she is
very active looking after her four

She does not exercise routinely and
feels too busy to do so. She needs to
get back to work quickly as she is on a
zero-hours contract.

I mentally put my head in my proverbial
hands with dismay and sadness that
anyone can end up so helpless.”

Not having worked within the NHS I don’t
want to comment on the specifics of
working in that environment.

However I can’t help thinking that a
different mindset and set of principles
would lead to a different approach and
conclusion to this Patient’s

If you can’t get a patient on a plinth
are you limited to managing pain only?

and is trying to convince her to
exercise really the way to approach
someone in this position?

Do you think it likely that this young
lady hasn’t heard before that exercise
will help her?

Is a lack of information really the
issue here?

Or is there something more useful that
could be done?

What about trying to understand the real
WHY behind her wants and needs – to find
out what really motivates her?

Could you analyse her current daily
activities and lifestyle

and make small tweaks to this in order
to increase her level of activity in a pain
free way?

and finding other habits that would
START her on the path to better health.

In other words:

Building on her current SUCCESS

and assessing and improving functions
that are most important to her.

I’m not saying this is easy

but it is necessary.

It’s this approach that underpins Thirst
4 Function’s courses here:


and you get the practical skills to put
it into action.

To help patients like the one described

Speak soon

Chris ‘Success hunter’ Wilkes

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