What Should You Expect from Your First Physiotherapy Visit?

Are you a physiotherapy first-timer? What exactly are you in for on your first physiotherapy visit? First of all, dress comfortably because you will be moving and wear clothes that will allow your therapist to access the part of your body they will be treating. By the end of your evaluation, you should have a clear understanding of the outcome of your assessment and your physiotherapy treatment plan.

You and your PT will create an individualised treatment plan to help you with your recovery.

What Is physiotherapy?

You probably have a general idea about what physiotherapy is and what a physiotherapist does. But why exactly are you going to a physiotherapist?

What sets them apart from other healthcare providers? Physiotherapists are experts on the dysfunction of the body’s musculoskeletal and nervous system. Currently, to become a licensed physiotherapist, you must earn a degree in physiotherapy, complete intensive clinical internships, and practice extensively in the clinic (as well as attending professional development courses for continuing education yearly).

PTs are trained to both diagnose and treat any dysfunction affecting movement/mobility or causing pain. Like most medical professionals, physiotherapists can treat a wide variety of acute injuries and long-term chronic conditions and also rehabilitate patients pre- and post-surgery. Besides injury treatment, physiotherapists also provide injury prevention, conditioning and wellness services.

Think of a physiotherapist as a “mechanic” for your body. By treating the mechanics of your body’s movement, they aim to get you back in optimal shape.

Let’s Evaluate

Your first PT visit is the evaluation. During the 45 to 60 minute session, you and your PT will review your medical history as it relates to your problem(s) and perform objective testing to help diagnose your injury and determine the future course of treatment. Prepare yourself for the standard questions. Where does it hurt? What makes it better? What makes it worse? Your PT also wants to get a good idea about your general health.

They’ll perform a screening of your main body systems (i.e. musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and integumentary) to gauge how interrelated your symptoms may be. This often includes taking your blood pressure, your weight and your height.

Any treatment stemming from your physiotherapy evaluation needs to be scientifically crafted and implemented. They’ll consider your range of motion, strength, joint mobility, flexibility, posture, and movement patterns. By assessing your gait, a PT may be able to diagnose movement compensation patterns and find further clues as to what is driving your problem.

From there, they can piece together how this may or may not impact your specific injury. With baseline measurements of your current status, your PT will be able to specifically compare improvements made in future sessions.

Start Treatment On Day One

Prepare to start on your treatment plan with your PT that very day. physiotherapy isn’t supposed to be painful. You’ll be moving, stretching, and having your joints and muscles mobilised using hands-on manual therapy techniques depending on your injury. Day one is the beginning of your rehabilitation progress. Some injuries are more complex than others and remember that healing does take time.

At some point you may be thinking “why were they checking my neck if the problem is in my shoulder?”. Sometimes, your physiotherapy evaluation will include parts of your body that don’t seem related to your injury.

Your evaluation will be comprehensive to include all factors that may be contributing to your problem as well as a concentrated analysis of your particular injury.

Can You Recover Without Going To Physiotherapy?

While some injuries do heal on their own, physiotherapy can help improve the healing time and quality of your recovery.

Googling can only take you so far in the case of self-treating your injury, as is the case with most medical conditions.

Remember, PTs are experts on your body’s musculoskeletal system. Their therapy program will be tailored to make you feel better and function at a higher level.

By the end of your session, your PT will have mapped out a treatment plan specific to you and your body.

For more information, call PCA on 0813 028 0496!

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