Have you ever had a bad haircut? What did you do? Did you discuss it with the hairdresser and then go back next time hoping they would listen to you and do a good job or did you just vote with your feet and go and find a new one?
It seems that many people change hairdressers as often as they change their runners (which should be every 6-12 months depending on your workload) so the way I see it, if you ever end up with a bad haircut, you have 2 options:
- Attempt to train the hairdresser/stylist to cut your hair in a way that you are happy with OR
- Find another hairdresser
Seriously, you wouldn’t give up on ever having your hair cut again would you?
Well, it should be like that with your health too. Just because you consult a health practitioner that you don’t feel comfortable with or are not happy with their diagnosis or treatment, you shouldn’t stop consulting health practitioners altogether! If you go to see a doctor/physio/chiropractor/naturopath/massage therapist or other health professional and you don’t like what they are telling you, it doesn’t feel right, they don’t listen to you or they can’t wait to put you in a neat little ‘problem box’, then tell them, try to work with them or go find another doctor/naturopath/physio/chiropractor/massage therapist and get another opinion.
Let me tell you a story. I used to not believe in Physios!
Back then I was a ‘No Pain, No Gain’ person and if I couldn’t feel the treatment then it wasn’t doing anything for me. When I was injured, my experience was that I’d see the Physio for 5 or 10 mins, they’d hook me up to some sort of machine for 20-30 minutes and when the timer went off, I’d wait another 15 to 20 minutes before they came and told me I could go and “I’ll see you again in a couple of days/next week”. This went on for a few weeks with me not feeling any different until I got fed up and just stopped going.
But then, in the midst of a cold wet winter whilst I was still umpiring Aussie Rules football, I developed shin splints in both my shins and boy were they painful. A close and trusted friend referred me to a Physio that was 45 minutes from my home! Now, it was only because I trusted this person that I decided to actually make the trek out to the Physio’s clinic that first time but I am so glad that I did. This Physio actually listened to me, he asked me lots of questions, he answered all my questions and he didn’t jump to an immediate diagnosis. Now whether he was conscious of how far I had to travel to see him or not, he was hesitant to have me coming back for sessions too often. Instead, he gave me exercises to do at home that actually helped me and meant I didn’t have to make the trek to see him as often. And I liked that so I kept going back, even though it was a 45 minute drive from work and home.
Now, before you get enraged or upset that I am bagging Physios in general, please understand that this was a time in my life when I operated on the paradigm of ‘Go hard or go home’. ‘If I can’t feel it working, it ain’t working. ‘ I’ve grown up a lot since then and after road testing a few, I’ve found a Physio that I do like working with. There are many great Physios and health practitioners out there – the trick is that you have to find one that suits you, that you believe in and that you trust.
So shop around. You wouldn’t buy the first car you look at in a car yard now would you? So why not test drive your health practitioners too.
The other lesson here is that sometimes you have to travel a bit further than just around the corner to get the kind of service and relationship with your health practitioners that you want. In my opinion, that’s ok too. If spending an extra 10 to 15 minutes in the car means that I’m going to heal more quickly then I’m all for it.
When it comes to your health, no-one is going to care as much about it as you do so make sure you get the best quality of care that you can. You need to create your very own Dream Team! A team of people and practitioners that will help and support you in achieving your goals.
You can have whoever you want on your dream team – massage therapist, acupuncturist, nutritionist, naturopath, chiropractor, physiotherapist, reiki practitioner, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, Yoga Teacher, Meditation Teacher etc. Just remember to road-test a few practitioners before giving up on any one modality. Ask questions, find practitioners that are willing to work with you and with your other health practitioners and are happy to explain things in a way that you can understand.
Most importantly, take responsibility for your own health rather than abdicate it to others.