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. Doing so to see if there is something that can be done to assist and accelerate 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 first ever 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. As well as any similar past history, or potentially related conditions, injuries or surgeries. Anything you think that may exert influence on the condition, or your recovery.
- Note down 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. Documenting 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. Including 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. This way your physiotherapist can observe you using the item and look at the biomechanics involved. Assessing 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. Doing the above can help you make the most of your time together.
What Should You Bring To The Session?
- As mentioned above, if possible bring with you any relevant footwear, or equipment you use that you feel could 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 site of issue, as well as surrounding areas. So, bring some comfortable clothing 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. Patients with lower limb complaints would bring a pair of shorts to put on.
- Please bring with you any investigations you may have previously had. Or email through ahead of time the associated reports for your 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. Therefore they will spend time taking a history of the problem according to you.
- The physiotherapist will then look at any available investigation reports, or films you have on hand.
- Following taking a history and looking at any investigations, your physio will then conduct a physical examination of the area and any areas they feel are associated with the condition.
- After this assessment process your physiotherapist will discuss with you their opinion. Thoughts on the condition and the appropriate treatment plan. Then in consultation with you 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?
- What can I do to assist recovery
- How long should I expect this to take to return to “normal?”
Don’t hesitate to ask questions, the better your understanding of what is going on and how to manage it the better the outcome. We love nothing more than inquisitive patients or are determined to understand what is going on and improve.