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Physio or Chiro or Osteo or......?

Therapy: A Chiro Is The Head Physio At This Race?

Care providers at races should be able to care for your injuries, giving priority to threatening problems. For example, open cuts and abrasions must be cleaned before a tape job is removed. No matter what degree the therapist has, it is common for that therapist to be regarded as the “physio”. But are they real physios?

The touring or race “physio” should be prepared to manage many common trail running injuries with know-how and experience related to strains and sprains, blisters, cuts and abrasions and joint manipulation. Tape jobs would be on offer, not to mention stretching and perhaps massage.

So who is best qualified to do this “physio” job? It could be that old grumpy experienced trainer who has done it for 40 years, or it could be a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, chiropractor, osteopath,medical doctor, athletic therapist, massage therapist, or nurse. But if you can’t do a decent job at taping an ankle with 20 people yelling at you, I won’t take you seriously as being an experienced sports injury care provider.

I am a doctor of chiropractic and I’ve been working as an international touring doctor for touring athletes since 1985. I have worked alongside other chiropractors, and all the therapists on the list above; working on our own athletes and sometimes in a team effort, commonly helping each other and learning from each other.

Rarely have I worked alongside a useless therapist. Once I almost did; he was a physiotherapist who kicked me out of the “physio” tent because I was a “chiropractor”, working as the official “whatever you want to call me” with the Calgary track team at the Alberta High School Provincials.

So I set up on the infield away from the javelin and discus area to prevent getting hit more than once in a day. The week after, physios called me and apologized for that rookie who didn’t know me and acted so viciously. The oppression did hurt, especially when I was proudly working so hard as a volunteer in the athletics world where I was respected, and was caught like a deer in the headlights as he yelled at me in front of his colleagues as if I was a dog being scolded. I would handle it differently these days, but that is another story. I remember his name in any case.

Now-a-days, while on tour, I am referred to as the “physio”. I correct them and say that I am a chiropractor, and they say “cool”, or “whatever”, or “good, can I get cracked too?” But the popular or generic term for the athletic therapist or sports injury care provider seems to be “physio” even if it is a an orthopedic surgeon or TCM who is doing the “physio”.

The generic term is actually “physical therapy”, as opposed to mental therapy.

In Hong Kong and in many countries, there is a government registry for physiotherapists just like there is a registry for doctors of chiropractic and another one for medical doctors. Osteopaths don’t have one in Hong Kong yet. A registry apparently protects the public and the profession, by confirming that the person is actually qualified to practice the profession.

The registration process to be a doctor of chiropractor in HK is quite strict since there are no chiropractic schools in HK. The government protects the integrity of the profession by not letting non-chiropractors use the term “chiropractic”.

So, while I am qualified as a doctor of chiropractic in HK, and I am qualified due to my experience and education to be a touring sports therapist, I am commonly referred to as a “physio” but I am not qualified in HK as a physiotherapist, whose shortened nickname is “physio”. Go figure....

With the term “physio”, you could ask the “physio” what their degree is. Usually it is Bachelor of Physiotherapy, sometimes Masters or PhD, but with Action Asia Events, you might meet a mix of degree holders ranging from MSc PT to DC to DO, to RMT or RN, because I try to get the best qualified professionals on board, and the label is sometimes misleading as to who is going to best help you at these races when you really need some assistance based on education, wisdom and experience mixed with personality and character.

For more essays, see Dr. David Cosman's Blog Site:!blog/bhia3

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