Mahdi’s guest on this episode of the Project Kuwait podcast is Jennifer Allen, a physiotherapist who has relocated to Kuwait from Canada. Jen discusses with us the importance of physiotherapy and its far-reaching impacts on the body. She and Mahdi also talk about the biggest differences that she has noticed in her Kuwaiti clients from those she has served in other countries.
1:10 – Jennifer Allen is a physiotherapist from Canada who has been in Kuwait for about a year. She has previously worked in Mexico and Nepal as well, and she started out as a physical therapist. As a PT, she felt that she was not able to help her clients as much as she would like to because she wasn’t knowledgeable about biomechanics.
4:17 – Mahdi interjects that biomechanics means that you can alter movements based on the person’s abilities.
4:45 – Jen describes the two schools of thought on physiotherapy: (1) the goal should always be a neutral spine, and (2) if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
5:47 – Mahdi mentions that his shoulders are completely different because of playing baseball.
7:05 – Jen says that Kuwaitis tend to be hyper-flexible compared to people from the other countries where she has worked. Being hyper-flexible and also relatively inactive as many Kuwaitis are can lead to collapsed foot arches and all of this can necessitate specific stretching.
9:55 – Mahdi clarifies that collapsed arches means that people are knock-kneed. He also advocates for the benefits of physiotherapists because they actually physically observe the body through movements.
12:16 – Jen says that the best way to exercise while being hyper-flexible is by focusing on remaining within a normal range of motion.
13:00 – Jen touches on the differences in body composition between Canadians and Kuwaitis who have less muscle mass and more fat due to inactivity and the lack of infrastructure for walking.
15:05 – Jen’s most memorable quote of the podcast is “motion is lotion”, which means that the joints are nourished by the body moving.
16:19 – Mahdi talks about his cousin, who he referred to Jen for assessment.
17:28 – Jen explains the public healthcare system of Canada and the long waitlists and other restrictions involved in getting imaging done there. Whereas in Kuwait and other countries, there are business interests that encourage the frequent ordering of tests and imaging. This could cause doctors to treat the imaging results rather than the root cause or symptoms of the person.
19:54 – Mahdi says that many people try to stay away from x-rays and similar tests because of the exposure to radiation.
20:39 – Jen clarifies that pain and imaging are not related, but that some people have seen their pain increase or subside simply based on the results of their imaging.
22:10 – Mahdi gives his experience after tearing his labrum and how his friend had a different experience with a different result.
23:06 – Jen talks about the research behind rehab vs. surgery outcomes and the doctor’s proclivity towards surgery if they are going to be financially compensated.
24:28 – Mahdi chimes in about a recent study that stated that 70% of meniscal tear surgeries were, in fact, unnecessary.
25:58 – Jen says that the most common injuries that she sees in Kuwait are neck and back pain due to inactivity.
27:40 – Jen continues by saying that neck and back pain can be caused by a combination of pressure on the discs and ligaments and the lack of loading which causes atrophy.
29:00 – Mahdi talks about people trying to overcompensate in their workouts, but this is only effective if you have the right trainer.
30:00 – Jen explains that when you are sitting, only part of each joint