The importance of seeking care early

Author: Sue May Wong

The truth is asking for help can be difficult for many of us. It is human nature to put up with pain and discomfort until one day we receive a wake-up call. A wake-up call is an event people refer to when a person acknowledges that their current behaviours are no longer serving them, and changes need to be made. In the physio realm, it often presents as a situation where the person is no longer able to fully participate in their usual life activities such as work or sports due to a pain or injury. As a physio, I often see patients in the clinic who have put up with their pain for months, sometimes even years before they decide to visit the physio. And this can sometimes have a larger impact on your wellbeing than it would’ve otherwise.

To explain this further, I’d like to share with you a story about my client. Julie presented to the clinic to see me after sustaining a left foot injury at work 6 months ago. She didn’t think too much of it at the time and continued her role as a cabin crew member. As the months progressed, the pain in her left foot progressively worsened and spread from her foot to her knee, lower back and both hips.

Due to the injury, she was unable to work for 6 weeks and this took a toll on her mentally, emotionally and financially. In the first few weeks she barely left her apartment as it was difficult for her to walk and stand for long periods of time. She was unable to participate in her usual sporting and social activities and was finding previously routine tasks like going to the shops difficult. Financially, she was struggling to keep up with the bills.

This story highlights how seemingly minor injuries can develop into chronic persistent injuries that require more time, resources, and energy to manage. Not only did Julie have to dedicate more effort and time to rehabilitating her injury but she also had to also face the mental, social, and financial impact of managing a chronic injury.

So, what can you do to minimize the impact of an injury on your overall wellbeing?

Here are a couple of simple tips:

  • Modify or minimize any activities that aggravate the pain. If it is related to work tasks, speak to your manager or the onsite physiotherapist for further advice on modifying your work duties.
  • If pain worsens or persists for a few days despite modifying your activities, book in an appointment with a physiotherapist to get expert advice on how you can manage your symptoms.

The key take away is that recognizing the signs and acting early will save you a lot of time, effort, mental and financial resources in the long-term. Personally, I believe that taking ownership of your health and wellbeing is an act of love. When you feel good in your body, you can show up at your best and be present for your loved ones.

My favourite author Jay Shetty once said, “If we don’t make time for our wellness, we will be forced to make time for our illness”.

The next time you sustain an injury, I hope this article inspires you to take prompt action.