Dear Physiotherapy Virgins
Are you a physiotherapy first-timer? Never been to physiotherapy before and don't know what to expect on your first visit? Keep reading to find out more!
First off, I would recommend dressing in loose/comfortable clothing because you will be moving. Although you might not be expected to do any exercises in the first visit, your physiotherapist will be conducting a physical assessment to see how well you're moving. Ideally, you want to allow for easy access to your area(s) of concern. It's actually quite shocking the number of people who come in with knee pain that are wearing tight jeans; or the number of people who come in with low back pain and wearing dresses.
Physiotherapy usually starts off with an initial assessment that is between 45 and 60 minutes long. During this time, you and your physiotherapist will discuss your musculoskeletal injuries/concerns and review your medical and health history. Be prepared to answer standard questions such as the following: Where does it hurt? When did the pain start? Did you have an injury? What happened? What kind of pain is it? What makes it better? What makes it worse? Did you have any tests done? If you have any medical referral forms or test results, please bring those along. The physiotherapist will then conduct a physical assessment to evaluate your posture, range of motion, strength, mobility, and overall movement patterns. Your physiotherapist might even look at areas of the body that don't seem relevant to your injury (i.e. checking your neck if you have shoulder pain or checking your back if you have leg pain). Special tests might also be done to rule out certain conditions. It might seem long and tedious, but every little bit of information helps your physiotherapist determine a diagnosis and plan of action.
Prepare to start your treatment plan on the first day. Treatments can vary depending on what your physiotherapist has decided is needed. Click here to read about some of the most common physiotherapy treatments. Some injuries or conditions are more complex than others and will require more frequent sessions or for a longer period of time. Your physiotherapist will give you a treatment plan that may consist of 1 to 3 treatments per week for an x number of weeks. Remember that your physiotherapist is not a miracle healer and that recovery takes time. Don't show up for 1 or 2 treatments and then expect to be cured.
Some injuries do heal on their own, but physiotherapy helps to speed up the healing time and improve the quality of recovery. Dr. Google can only help so much with self-treatment at home. Seeing a physiotherapist and receiving a customized treatment plan that is tailored just for you will make you feel better and function more optimally. Feel free to ask questions and express concerns. We want you to feel comfortable and encourage you to take part in your own health!