What regular physio visits have done for my health

 

One of the biggest misconceptions in our society is that you have to wait until something is wrong before going to see a health specialist. For Melbourne writer, TARYN STENVEI, this belief was knocked on its head after an issue with her knee forced her to question everything she thought she knew about staying well.

It all started 10 years ago when I was living in Europe. I was walking down a cobbled street in Denmark and I rolled my ankle. The pain was excruciating, but I expected it to heal fairly quickly, so I carried on with my life and tried to enjoy my adventure. Little did I know, this was just the beginning.

As time went by, it started to worsen and spread to my knee. There were days when it was so bad that I couldn’t even leave my house. Here I was, a healthy 20-year-old, holed up in my apartment, unable to move because of unbearable joint pain. It just didn’t seem right, so I took myself to the GP.

The doctors thought it could be early on-set arthritis. All the symptoms checked out, so I had to have a whole heap of blood tests and X-rays to find out for sure. I was scared. I couldn’t imagine being so young and living with such a serious condition. So, when the results came back negative, I was relieved… but also confused. What the hell was going on with my body? The pain was real, but they couldn’t find a cause.

I decided to book an appointment with a physiotherapist. I’d never seen one before, but I figured if anyone was going to know what was wrong, it would be the joint and muscle expert. When I arrived, the specialist asked me to stand directly in front of him. After a few moments of looking me up and down, he told me he knew exactly what my problem was and that it could be fixed pretty easily.

Apparently, I’d been standing and walking incorrectly my whole life. I didn’t even know there was a right or wrong way, but it seems I’d been locking my knees too tightly and that I was putting too much pressure on my muscles and knee caps. He reassured me that he could help, but I was going to have to be patient as the exercises took hold and I re-learned how to move around.

Since then, physio has become an integral part of my overall health regime. I visit him at least once month for a remedial massage and I do my exercises as regularly as I can. I’ve also learned that I need to listen to my body more closely, and take better care of it before, during and after exercise. This means stretching properly, staying mindful about pain and resting when I need to.

If something feels amiss, I book an appointment straight away. Especially since I’ve started playing basketball and riding my bike more. The two activities together really tighten my glutes and I’ve found it necessary to access the help I need before anything gets out of hand. I didn’t know I could do this before; I thought you only went to the doctor when something was wrong.

As such, my focus is now on prevention rather than cure. And as I can claim for Extras treatments through my health insurance, I give myself the time and space I need to stay well. These days, I love seeing my physiotherapist. It’s not something I associate with sickness or pain. In fact, if anything, I associate it with self-care and an overall feeling of and wellbeing – something I would have sadly missed out on had I not made that very first appointment.

(As told to Jamie Williams)

 

All myOwn combined covers let you claim on physiotherapy treatments – from 50% to 70% depending on your level of cover from any recognised provider. myOwn health insurance also includes membership for up to two adults (the policy holder and their partner) to AIA Vitality, the personalised, scientifically-backed program that supports you every day and rewards you for making healthier lifestyle choices.