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Preparing For Your Physiotherapy Appointment

Preparing For Your Physiotherapy Appointment
Preparing For Your Physiotherapy Appointment

Getting Ready For Your First Physiotherapy Appointment

When pain is severe, lingers longer than expected or there is significant functional limitation people frequently decide to see a physiotherapist to see if there is something that can be done to assist recovery. If you aren’t familiar with seeing allied health practitioners the unknown of what a physiotherapy appointment actually entails can be a little daunting. Here’s some information to help you get ready for your physiotherapy appointment.

What You Can Do To Get Ready For Your Physiotherapy Appointment

  • Make a mental list or write down your symptoms and when they began.
  • Make another note of any key medical information relating to the complaint and any similar past history or potentially related conditions, injuries or surgeries that may exert their influence the condition or your recovery.
  • Note any medication and supplements you are taking or have been prescribed to take by other practitioners.
  • Log your typical daily activity, anything from your usual work postures and any incidental exercise through to elective physical activity and exercise you are involved in. Specifically noting any recent changes to any of these situations be it type, frequency, intensity or surface change to your regular activity.
  • Note specifics of any specialised exercise, leisure or work equipment used in your training or employment such as running shoes, football boots, musical instruments… If you relate the condition you have to a specific item then consider bringing the item with you to the physiotherapy appointment so the physiotherapist can observe you using the item and look at the biomechanics involved and how this may influence or be altered to help with recovery.
  • Write down any specific questions you may have to ask your physiotherapist so you don’t forget and to help you make the most of your time together.

What Should You Bring To The Session?

  • As mentioned above ideally if possible bring with you any relevant footwear or equipment you use that you feel may be related to your condition.
  • Bring along any braces or supports you are using to help with the condition regardless of whether they are  effective or not.
  • Your physiotherapist will want to examine the area as well as surrounding areas so bring some comfortable clothing for you to put on that will allow for this. Such as females with upper limb or neck complaints will ideally bring along a tank top with them and patients with lower limb complaints would bring a pair of shorts to put on.
  • Any investigations you may have previously had for the condition and the associated reports for the physiotherapist to have a look at.

What To Expect From Your Initial Physiotherapy Appointment

  • Your physiotherapist will try to get an understanding of the condition and how you feel it is effecting you so will spend some time taking a history of the problem according to you.
  • The physiotherapist will then look at any available investigations films or reports you have on hand.
  • Following taking a history of the problem according to you and looking at any investigations you may have had prior to the session the physiotherapist will then conduct a physical examination of the area and any areas they feel may be associated with the condition.
  • After the assessment your physiotherapist will discuss with you their opinion of the condition and the appropriate treatment plan and begin the treatment process.

Questions You May Want To Ask Your Physiotherapist

Below are some basic questions physiotherapists are frequently asked at initial appointments some of them may be of specific relevance and high priority for you to ask at your initial physiotherapy appointment:

  • What is the most likely cause of my signs and symptoms?
  • Do I need tests to confirm the diagnosis and help with planning the management of the condition?
  • How long will I need to avoid the sport or activity that caused my complaint for?
  • What kind of exercise routine can I safely follow while I’m healing?
  • Will I eventually be able to resume all activity at pre-injury level as a result of physiotherapy treatment?

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, the better your understanding of what is going on and how to manage it the better the outcome.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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