By Duke Autret, Myotherapist
As a myotherapist, I've had the privilege of working closely with individuals on their journey to improved physical health and well-being. However, it's essential to recognize that achieving optimal health isn't solely dependent on the treatments we provide especially when it comes to more chronic conditions. There are so many moving parts to health that we can face complex barriers when striving for a healthier lifestyle. In this blog, we'll delve into these barriers and discuss strategies to overcome them. Let's explore the psychological and social factors that can affect the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.
Barriers to Lifestyle Health
Before diving into overcoming these barriers, it's crucial to understand the key challenges people face:
1. Psychological Barriers - Psychological barriers include fears, doubts, or misconceptions that hinder individuals from actively participating in their health journey. For example, expecting healthcare professionals to provide a magical solution while taking a backseat in managing one's health.
2. Social and Cultural Factors - Social and cultural factors play a significant role in shaping people's health beliefs and behaviours. Communities or cultures with a tradition of relying solely on medical intervention may create a barrier to active participation in health.
The Myotherapist's Role
As myotherapists, we're not just providers of physical treatments; we're educators and guides on the path to wellness. Our role goes beyond hands-on therapy, extending to empowering individuals to take charge of their health.
1. Educating and Empowering - In a way we can take the role of a physical therapy and health teacher or coach, as though teaching a group of up and coming student therapists, only the student is becoming the therapist more themselves. We can educate our clients about the importance of active participation in their health. Encourage them to ask questions, seek and understand information, so they can be proactive in their own health and decisions on interventions.
Myotherapists can empower clients to understand the limitations of our treatments. While we offer relief and support, long-term health improvements depend on their active engagement.
2. Communicating Realistic Expectations - Setting clear expectations is vital. Clients should understand that myotherapy complements, but doesn't replace, a commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
Discussing the importance of self-care, lifestyle changes, and preventive measures. Be honest about the role of the individual in maintaining and improving their health outcomes.
Overcoming Psychological Barriers
1. Building Self-Efficacy - We help clients build self-efficacy, the belief in their ability to control their health. Encourage them to make small, achievable changes and acknowledge their successes.
Share success stories and examples of individuals who took control of their health through active participation.
2. Promoting Health Literacy - We encourage clients to seek knowledge about their conditions and treatments. Suggest reputable sources of health information and emphasise the importance of informed decision-making.
We provide resources on health literacy to enhance clients' understanding of their well-being.
Addressing Social and Cultural Factors
1. Cultural Competence - We endeavour to cultivate cultural competence to understand the unique beliefs and expectations of clients from diverse backgrounds. Respect cultural practices and beliefs related to health while promoting the benefits of active participation.
2. Community Engagement - As a small business we aim to get involved in community health initiatives. Collaborate with local organisations and promote health awareness. This can help change community norms and expectations regarding healthcare.
Embrace Active Participation in Health
As a myotherapist, my goal is to empower my clients to actively engage in their health journey, and I extend the invitation to all. Let's create a culture where as therapists, educators and clients we understand our roles in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, appreciate the importance of preventive measures, and work hand in hand together to achieve optimal well-being. By addressing these barriers and promoting active participation, we can make a significant impact in our lives and the. Together, we can overcome the psychological and social barriers to lifestyle health.
By Peter Pascalis, Clinical Myotherapist
Want to know if your painful side is weaker, and how much weaker so you can work on it? Thats what the MAT Muscle Meter lets us measure!
The MAT muscle meter - why we use these assessment tools?
In our clinic we see patients daily who experience some change from their "normal" state. People will seek our advice and treatment for their ailments because they don't want to rely on medications or they don't want to normalise their pain.
Regardless of how acute or chronic these conditions are, assessment of the dysfunction requires measurement if we are to conclude on a most likely diagnosis and be able to realistically set our treatment goals.
For example when you come in with neck pain we will assess the range of motion available to you before the onset of symptoms, whether it be tightness of muscles or pain at a certain range of movement. These markers enable us to form a baseline from which we can measure improvements in those specific impairments.
Measurement of factors like range of motion or strength can be estimated, and in most cases this could be enough, however if we want to get really precise on our measurements we have access to some great tools, like the MAT Muscle Meter!
How do we know that our treatments have been effective?
We could certainly ask the question and if all things have gone well we would be told that you're feeling great and life couldn't be better! At least that is what we'd both be working towards.
Recovery from injury or pain isn't always so easily and quickly measured by our immediate experience of symptom relief. We therefore need some data on what has changed following our treatments to know that we are tracking in the right direction for the long term resolution of your pain or symptoms.
Many devices exist that can help us as clinicians to get the most accurate data on pain or dysfunction by measuring for change before and after treatment. Much of that information will guide our treatments. The most simple version of this is the classic "how bad is your pain on a scale of 1-10?" which uses a number scale to rate your pain. Before treatment its a 7/10, and afterwards you report a 2/10? We call that a win! But how can we measure those wins even more precisely?
As pain and tension can be multifactoral we eliminate the guesswork by supporting our claims with confirmation that our treatments are effective both reassuring us and our clients.
The muscle meter tester is one example of a device that we can use to measure muscle strength, range of motion, and threshold to pain. All these variables when tested and changed in the positive will reassure us that we are well on the way to long term resolution of your symptoms. By measuring muscle strength we can prescribe exercises that aim to build strength equally in both sides of the body, when unequal it can be an underlying cause of dysfunction.
Measuring range of motion on the symptomatic side tells us if we have restored range to its pre-injured level. Pain pressure threshold tells us if painful points otherwise known as trigger points or muscle knots have been improved.
Although we can certainly gauge treatment effects in terms of seeing and hearing about those changes, confirming that our treatments have been successful by directly measuring those effects can be satisfying for both clinician and patient alike.
Want me to measure your strength as part of your next treatment? Book in and ask me about the MAT Muscle Meter!
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