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Getting Dubai's warriors to the doctor

Dubai: Physiotherapy centres can act as a point of entry into the medical system for me who think they are invincible, it was said at the opening of a conference yesterday.

Physio Dubai 2012 is the fourth Biennial Emirates Physiotherapy Conference.

Held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Finance Minister, and organised by the Emirates Physiotherapy Society and Emirates Medical Association, the two-day conference brings together medical professionals including physiotherapists, sports physicians and orthopaedic surgeons.

Craig Allingham, conference speaker and leading sports physiotherapist with qualifications in physiotherapy, sports science and men’s health spoke about the long-standing belief among men who refuse to visit a doctor because they think they are invincible, and that they can live long no matter how poorly they look after themselves.

‘Warrior injuries’

Speaking to Gulf News, Allingham explained that men’s behaviour and attitude to health could be changed when they visit a physiotherapy clinic. He said men tend to think that a visit to a doctor is a sign of weakness, but a visit to a physiotherapist isn’t. “They will arrive at the physiotherapy centre for back pain or sport injury from playing football or riding. These are considered warrior injuries or badges of merit.”

He said that physiotherapists should understand that this “visit by a male patient” is an opportunity to change their thinking from reacting to an injury to a more holistic introduction of issues related to men’s health.

“At a micro level this is an effective approach, If a man comes in with an ankle sprain or back, I may tell him that it is severe due to his weight gain. In this community, there is a high incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease — both related to obesity,” he said.

Abdul Adheem Kamkar, President of the Conference and Head of Physiotherapy Section at the Department of Medical Services, Dubai Police, told Gulf News that the number of people taking up sport was on the rise, increasing the priority for rehabilitation and physiotherapy. He said: “With sport there are injuries and these need to be managed appropriately. At the conference, we have the latest evidence in sport and hamstring injuries helping us to better diagnose and treat. Our focus is on prevention and management [of sport injuries].”

Amal Shamlan, head of the organising committee at the conference and head of the rehabilitation section at Latifa Hospital spoke to Gulf News about the need for statistics in relation to sport injuries. She said: “We have data on diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and we need to have data on sport injuries. This can be done through a national project involving all health authorities to establish prevalence of different kinds of injuries.”

The conference is supported by th Ministry of Health (MoH), the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, Dubai Convention Bureau, Dubai Equine Hospital and the World Federation for Physical Therapy

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