- Posted by Michael Iudica
- On April 3, 2023
What to expect for your first physiotherapy appointment
Is this your first time attending a physiotherapy appointment? Are you a little uncertain of what to expect or what is involved in your consultation? Here is a brief explainer of what may be involved in your consultations to help you get back to your best self.
Plan ahead: What to Wear
Wearing clothes that make it easy to assess the area of the body you have injured is important for appropriate assessment and treatment. For example, wearing shorts for an assessment of the knee will be much easier than wearing restrictive skin tight jeans that can’t be rolled up.
Your therapist may opt for hands on treatments like massage, taping techniques, or exercise-based therapies, and so wearing something like activewear, or shorts and a t-shirt/singlet will be much more comfortable for you.
The Initial Discussion
Whether you’ve woken up with a stiff and sore neck, rolled your ankle in your weekend warrior activity, or have had that niggling elbow pain get worse after a long day working in the garden; your physiotherapist will start your consultation by getting some background information about yourself and how your injury came to be. This may include questions like:
- What has brought you in today?
- What activity were you doing when you first noticed the pain?
- How long have you had the injury for?
- Is there any movement or activity that makes the pain worse? How about better?
- What does your normal exercise routine look like?
- Is there anything that you are looking to get back to doing or goals you are working towards?
These questions will help us figure out what has happened, and further help us develop an appropriate plan to get you back to your pre-injury self.
Assessing the Injury
After your discussion, your therapist will need to assess your movement to determine which structures are likely involved in your injury. This may involve considering basic movements of the body part in question, or observing functional movements like your walking pattern or a squat. It is important to note that some of these movements may replicate some of your pain or discomfort, however, we will not ask you to push beyond something you are not comfortable doing. Keep an open dialogue with your physio and let them know how your pain is responding to the activity you are doing.
This assessment will help your therapist develop a plan for treatment, which is the next part of the consultation.
Here at First Choice Health, we use a combination of hands-on treatment (manual therapy) and exercise prescription. This combined therapy is aimed at improving your overall mobility, strength, and function to help get you back to your normal routine.
Every physio will have a different way of treating you, but some of the typical treatments will include (but not limited to):
- Soft tissue massage
- Joint mobilisations/movements
- Taping techniques
- Functional retraining
- Exercise prescription
- Dry needling*
- Ultrasound *
- Gait aid prescription (e.g. crutches, walking frame, etc)
- Education and advice
* Please note that not all physios offer the above services. If you have a preference or request for a particular treatment, be sure to specify this prior to booking your appointment
At the end of the session, your physio will discuss with you when to rebook to monitor the effect of treatment and your home exercises. This is important to ensure that you are improving with your rehabilitation, and to progress or add to your exercise program.