Level 1, Maitland week II

So, it is time for Maitland concept, level 1 and week two in Gdansk, Poland. This time it felt a lot easier to come here. Of course the city was somewhat familiar, at least my neighborhood and the campus area. The other course participants were the same and the teachers too. It had been snowing in Finland on the first day of June so a promise from  +20 degrees was tempting. What was there not to like?

Well, maybe the fact that I wasn’t so sure whether I had made the time to take the new stuff from the first week to my daily routine. I did some lists which I could follow with certain patients but I could not really get those lists to fit my therapy routine. The use of the body chart wasn’t fitting to daily work cause we document everything to a computer. Also the Maitland documentation was like Hebrew language to me: I could not use the symbols with keyboard – so I didn’t sacrifice a lot of time for learning it. So as you can see, there was some question marks with the concept and how I could utilize it.

On Sunday we did not waste any time. Instead, the Week Two started with the shoulder complex and its anatomy. Personally, I did feel somewhat slow and not so oriented on the first day and my language felt sluggish – but I counted that it all was quite normal after the most eventful spring so far. And of course I was not the only one: some of the participants were finishing their physio studies which are Masters level in Poland in comparison to our Bachelor in Finland. Not so surprisingly I did not hear any “I am super prepared and oriented for this week!!” Of course not. You come with the prerequisites you have and that is enough.

Day 2

Today we had patients. First week when Thomas said that they were coming this week I was relieved. The second week seemed to be so far away and it felt impossible to start the therapy with something I really couldn’t put my finger on yet. It sounded a bit terrifying, with the new concept quidelines, techniques and the language. Pretty soon though it came clear to me that this was not the place for being anxious, nervous or too insecure. The place for that is in the future tests and later phases…

Think about it. Why would you pay for 20 day course if you knew it all in advance and had the know-how to everything the curriculum holds? Why would the teachers and your course mates assume that you know it all? Why would you think you should know it all?

I was in a group of three people doing the planning, examination and treatment to one patient. Thomas and Daria had explained the whole thing before and we knew that they would be near assisting and helping with some possible question marks.

The time flew fast with the patient. We had no big problems with the case and even got a minor improvement to his symptoms. Again: why the self-doubt? You could practice, write everything down and memorize certain degrees to your mind so you could know the theoretics asleep. And sure, you need to have some theoretical knowledge to be able to do clinical reasoning. But I don’t think that it is where the learning happens: it happens in the situation per ce, with the patient and with your peers. The best way to learn is with another people.

Day 3

We got to see our patients for the second time. Beforehand we made some plans what to follow. Of course we had to change them completely after some consulting but then we followed the plan number two.

When you are doing teamwork the chemistry is not maybe the “must” thing, because you need to get along with all sorts of people. For my case in here, some rare teamworks we have done have been somewhat challenging due to the language barrier, but mostly we have worked in pairs or a group of three which is much more simpler. Also if one is shy about speaking on a foreign language it might be easier to discuss in a smaller unit of people. In our patients case our teamwork has been fun and it has been easy to communicate and from time to time get slightly off topic, for example to Macarena choreography and Friends quotes.

In the evening our party planner of the group booked a private room for us from a pub in the old town. I left home early but rumours say that some didn’t.

Those evenings out are great way to see your peers in their off-physio mode. Off course we talked about some physio and Maitland stuff but mainly the conversation and the people were on a different tuning.

Day 4

At this point of the week, many of us started to feel a bit tired. As the day went on also the conversations and actions started to get somewhat restless too. However, we did get something done with the cervical and the thoracic spine.

Along the week it has been crucial to train with different people and mix the pairs as much as possible. The grip, the feedback and the tissue is different with us all so it is a lot easier to apply the knowledge with patients.

It fun to see how the group has really blended together. There are more and more laughter, jokes and playing around and it is easier to let loose. With every group, the dynamics is different and it is so fun to see the change of us day by day. Big part of this atmosphere is due to Thomas and Daria. Being themselves and not taking everything too seriously when there is no need they ease our (sometimes hard thinking) minds.

Can’t believe how the time flies. Tomorrow it is only four hour day and then we go back where each and other came from.

Day 5

On the last day, we had some theoretical stuff about visceral pain and thoracic spine and also practical training. As Thomas said, we have had a lot of new techniques in this week and afterwards it is easier to see: we only had maybe two or three lectures compared with the first week when there was a lot of information of the general Maitland principles. Maybe, that is why I feel some much more eager to get these new grips and methods to my daily work. We simply did more of pure manual physio training. Also now the knowledge is somewhat larger than after the first week general information about the concept, but only a bit. The concept is still a big puzzle yet to be solved, some of the cues and matching edges are there but it is a bit hard to see the forest from trees as the saying goes.

Still, looking back these five days I can’t be more excited of this whole experience and looking so much what is to come. I just realized that I wasn’t bored hardly any second during the teaching on these five days. Got a bit carried away?

It is clear that I will go through at least levels 2a and 2b. We will see the rest after those ones… And as Piotr so kindly reminded, there is the level 1 test to pass. Feet firmly on the ground. Exept now during my flight home.

That is that, week two done and starting to land to Helsinki. Thanks to my coursemates for taking me into concideration with the language and keeping me on the right page. As we all know, we do have potential. Maybe just a slightly more with the chapters 1-9.

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