Seeing a physiotherapist is wise if you’re suffering from pain, discomfort or any sort of injury. It’s also important to see a physiotherapist when you begin to feel a niggle, ache or pain coming on to ensure that you prevent something minor from turning into a major injury. But it can sometimes be a daunting experience if you’ve never seen a physiotherapist before and don’t know what to expect.
Here we answer some of the most common physiotherapy FAQs, to put your mind at ease before seeing a physiotherapist for the first time.
How quickly should I get an appointment?
With injuries, early intervention and fast treatment is advised, as it helps to prevent a small issue from turning into a large musculoskeletal injury. Early treatment also assists with recovery times as the right treatments and preventative measures can be put in place. Because of this, if you have an onsite physiotherapy service, you’ll be given an appointment as soon as possible. If an onsite service isn’t available, you should arrange an appointment at an offsite clinic as soon as possible.
It’s also very common for people to be referred to a physiotherapist by their GP, but it’s possible to book an appointment without seeing a GP first.
What will happen during my first appointment?
Your first appointment will generally take place in the treatment room. To begin with, your physiotherapist will ask you a series of questions about your medical history, previous injuries and your current symptoms. The physiotherapist will gather as much information as possible and then assess you so they can diagnose the problem and determine the best course of treatment. It’s important to remember that the best sort of treatment may not be hands on, it may in fact be a series of exercises or alterations to your workstation.
The appointment should take between 20-30 minutes altogether.
How will I be assessed?
Your physiotherapist will ask you to do some non-strenuous movements while standing, sitting or lying down. They’ll also examine the tissue in the area that’s causing you pain, and assess your flexibility and range of motion.
Will it hurt?
Most people will not experience any pain during their assessment, but you might feel some discomfort. It’s important to tell your physiotherapist if and when anything feels uncomfortable. This will give them more insight into the problem and help them devise your treatment plan.
You might experience some soreness after your assessment. This is completely normal.
Do I need to bring anything with me to my assessment?
The physiotherapist will need to see the areas that are causing you pain. This means you might have to remove some of your clothing. It’s easier if you have some comfortable clothes that offer a clear view of the affected area, such as a loose T-shirt if the problem is in your neck, shoulders or arms or shorts for lower back or leg pain.
How many physiotherapy sessions will I need?
This varies significantly from person to person, depending on the nature and severity of your problem. Your physiotherapist will devise a treatment plan tailored specifically for you, which is designed to give you the best possible outcome. They’ll advise you on how many sessions they think you’ll need. This could change as your treatment progresses, depending on how well you respond to it.
What will my treatment involve?
This depends on what the problem is. Physiotherapists are trained in a wide variety of different techniques, and your physiotherapist will decide which methods are the most appropriate for you.
Some of the most common treatments include:
- Manual therapy (stretching, resistance and joint manipulation)
- Trigger point therapy (applying direct pressure to the problem area)
- Posture correction
Your treatment plan is likely to involve a combination of some or all of these techniques. It could also involve other treatments such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture.
Can I opt out of a particular treatment?
Yes, you can. It’s your body, and if there’s any element of your treatment program that you feel uncomfortable with or would prefer not to try, you need to tell your physiotherapist. None of the treatments they suggest are compulsory.
Will I have to do anything between sessions?
Yes, your treatment plan will include a number of exercises for you to do at home between sessions. These won’t be strenuous, but they will play an important part in the speed and extent of your recovery. It’s important to be committed and remember to do them as often as your treatment plan suggests.
In your initial assessment, your physiotherapist will give you a sheet detailing the exercises they suggest for you. They will run through each exercise with you before you leave, to make sure you know how to do them correctly.
Where can I find out more about physiotherapy?
We hope these physiotherapy FAQs have been helpful and given you a better idea of what to expect about your physiotherapy treatment. If you’d like to know more, please contact us, and our team will be happy to answer any more questions you may have.