This post is sponsored by The Australian Physiotherapy Association
When I had my first child it wasn’t too taxing on me. I had taken a couple of weeks off before the due date and was lazing around waiting for bubs to arrive. When my daughter arrived things weren’t too hectic as she slept ok, we quickly got into a routine and I was a full-time stay at home mum with no work commitments. Overall, I felt ok in my body and mind.
Fast forward to three years ago when I had my third child. I think I may have still been working the morning I went into labour. Between school drop offs and pickups, lunches, washing, work and all of the things I was pushed to my limit before he was born. Once he arrived there was just more on the ‘to do’ list. I remember really loving breastfeeding him when people were around as I used it as a way to escape to his room and just sit for 20 minutes in the quiet and breathe. It wasn’t always like that as some days I would be running around with bubs feeding under one arm while doing something with the other.
Fast forward to this year and I can confidently say my body and mind started breaking a bit and a walk here and kale salad there was not enough to remedy years of putting my own health last. I had become a very tired and grumpy mother all of the time and I didn’t even like being around myself. Ha! A good night’s sleep wasn’t even enough to change my mood and I could see it was affecting my relationship with my husband and children.
At that point, I was starting to experience a bit of pain in my body. I was carrying a lot of stress in my neck and shoulders, I had been lugging around children on my hip for 10 years and had spent many hours a day sitting at a desk working on a computer.
I learned of a really great physio health and wellness centre near where I lived. So I called up to book an appointment.
You know that feeling where you finally get around to booking that appointment you have needed for like five years and you walk into the room and nearly burst out crying telling the person all of the 1000 things that you have been bottling up because you have been too busy to address anything. Yeah that!
I was so fortunate to see a really great physio who listened and helped me with more than just the pain I was experiencing in my body. She gave me some physical exercises as well as breathing exercises to try and help me get energy and life back into my body and mind.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but physiotherapists are the most recommended health professionals by GPs. The other great thing about physios is you don’t have to have a referral to see them—so if you don’t have time to attend two appointments, you can just call direct. If you have extras private health cover, like I did, you will also get some money back from your health insurer, so that’s another win (subject to eligibility).
Physios are highly educated health professionals who have to have either a bachelor degree or above. To register—and then to maintain their annual registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia—physiotherapists must meet stringent professional standards such as minimum hours of continuous professional development and work with accordance with the Board’s Code of Conduct. The good thing about this is you know you are in safe, well-educated and experienced hands.
Historically people have seen physios when they have an injury, but they actually offer a lot more health support than that. Physiotherapists can help with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and pelvic floor issues.
There are many different areas of physiotherapy. Here are some you may not have been aware of:
- bone and joint issues
- children’s’ developmental delays
- chronic pain
- sports injuries
- women’s health—pre and post-natal
- continence issues in men and women
- assisting older people with strength and mobility conditioning
- neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and stroke
- workplace assessments and getting people back to work after injury.
Slowly, slowly I am starting to get my health back. I called this article ‘My journey from tired and grumpy mum to energised and present mum’ … I would be lying if I said I had reached the land of the energised ever-present mum, but as the days and weeks and months pass I am getting closer. Seeing a physio was only part of the overall plan along with exercise, sleep and healthy eating. What I know as a mum is that it doesn’t work to put yourself last. When we are not at our best and feeling ok that impacts on everyone, so it’s important that we prioritise our own personal health.
You can find out more about how a physio can help you by visiting www.choose.physio and exploring what they offer at any stage of life to increase your wellbeing. It will also direct you to your nearest physio.