Q&A with Physiotherapist, Dr. Marco Sham
1) What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a health care profession that provides rehabilitation and treatment for a wide spectrum of musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, including but not limited to acute sports injuries, chronic pain, and vestibular disorders. Physiotherapy is an evidence-based, non-invasive, and a patient-centered approach to ultimately restore movement and function to an individual. We take a thorough history to rule out underlying issues, perform an extended assessment to find out the root cause of the problem, and provide an individualized program of care based on patient goals to improve their quality of life. Preventative care is also a huge part of physiotherapy as movement and function can be affected by aging, injury, poor posture and a sedentary lifestyle. We try to promote a healthier and active lifestyle to patients of all ages to avoid re-injuries and prevent other injuries from happening.
2) Do you specialize in a specific area/aspect of physiotherapy?
I wouldn’t say I specialize in any specific areas of physiotherapy, but for the past couple years I have been working with the athletic population more often, especially with youth athletes. Through these experiences, I have learned a lot on how the body functions as a whole, and also how one part of the body can indirectly affect other parts of the body, through improper movement patterns and biomechanics. For example, baseball pitchers can complain of elbow or shoulder pain, but what’s really causing their symptoms are actually their hips due to tightness and a lack of power generation in the pitching motion! I find these patterns fascinating and I’m still learning everyday about the body.
3) What conditions do patients mainly see you for?
Patients come in for a variety of reasons, for really any parts of the body. The conditions range from acute injuries suffered in the last couple days, to chronic pain which they have had for multiple years. With the increased sedentary lifestyle of the modern society, and the increasing amount of desk jobs, a lot of people come in for neck or back pain, mostly due to poor posture and a lack of physical activity. Like mentioned before, I also see a lot of youth athletes for sports injuries. The most common injuries are elbow, shoulder, and hip pain from baseball players, knee and back pain from volleyball players, and of course the most common ankle sprains and rotator cuff issues from all athletes.
4) What conditions or issues require acupuncture as a treatment?
Almost all conditions or injuries can benefit from acupuncture as a treatment. Research has shown acupuncture can decrease pain, reduce inflammation and swelling, improve blood flow, improve performance, and correct altered movement patterns. First of all, the patient has to be comfortable with the acupuncture procedure and consent to a treatment. Second, we will always explain what the purpose of the particular acupuncture treatment is.
5) Do you remember the first patient you ever treated?
I remember my first patient at Elite Physio was a lady with a wrist fracture. The reason why I remember that particularly is because it is not really a common injury as opposed to shoulder, knee, or back pain. I was a little nervous going into the assessment because she was my first patient at the clinic and I really wanted to do a good job. Fortunately, she progressed well and was able to go back to all the gardening and cooking she wanted!