What Happens During My First Physiotherapy Appointment?
An initial physiotherapy appointment will take forty-five minutes to complete and will consist of five key elements: a conversation about your injury, problem or area of concern, a physical examination, a diagnosis, treatment and planning. Although physiotherapy is individually tailored to meet the needs of an individual, this structure will remain similar throughout your treatment journey to ensure the best possible care is provided.
Initial Conversation (Subjective Examination)
Your physiotherapist will begin by asking you a series of questions designed to obtain details surrounding your pain, injury or area of concern. These may range from asking where your main area of concern is, if a particular incident caused the onset of pain or discomfort or activities that aggravate the area. Further, your physiotherapist will ask you about your goals and expectations of physiotherapy and what you seek to achieve from it. The aim of this conversation is for your physiotherapist to gain a general overview of your problem and how they can best help you.
Once your physiotherapist has an idea of why you’ve come into the clinic, they will perform a physical examination of the area of concern. This will include a series of tests and functional movements designed to assess your range of motion, strength, flexibility or balance. The aim of this is to determine what may be causing your problem and the likely structures involved.
Following a thorough discussion and physical examination, your physiotherapist will likely have enough information to provide you with a diagnosis. Typically, your physiotherapist won’t require any additional tests to determine a diagnosis, however, on occasion, scans or other tests are required to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. Your physiotherapist will explain your diagnosis, the reasoning they have come to that conclusion and the best form of management for your problem.
The treatment your physiotherapist will provide you will depend on the nature and severity of your injury. Education and activity modification are key aspects of physiotherapy treatment and will be discussed during treatment time to help you manage your injury outside of the clinic. Other common physiotherapy treatment techniques that may be employed include exercise, soft tissue massage therapy, joint mobilisations, dry needling and taping.
Your physiotherapist will provide you with exercises to complete at home. These are vitally important to the level of success you attain from physiotherapy and should be completed as instructed to maximise the benefits of therapy.
Towards the conclusion of your appointment, your physiotherapist will discuss with you the expected recovery time and recommended course of action for future treatment. This will aid in helping you understand what to expect in future sessions and how physiotherapy will help you reduce pain, improve function and achieve your goals.
A standard follow-up appointment will take thirty minutes to complete and will follow a similar structure to your initial session. If you’ve been considering whether physiotherapy is right for you, let now be the time to give it a try and see the benefits for yourself. Our physiotherapists are more than happy to work with all injuries and conditions, with our goal being to help you return to the activities you enjoy doing. To book a physiotherapy appointment, get in touch with our friendly team today.