Physiotherapy – What to Expect.

So what can I expect from a physiotherapist?

I’ve read a few things recently which have made me realise the obvious; not everyone who isn’t a physiotherapist knows what we do!

Our role is to help you return to full function (whatever that may be) when pain or injury interrupts your everyday activities, which it will at some point as that’s a normal part of life!

Firstly, you should understand that physiotherapy is very much about helping you to help yourself. We’re looking for a long-term solution to your problem, which can be implemented quickly, either getting you over it (following an injury), or enabling you to manage it (for arthritic problems).

Five or six visits are usually plenty for any given problem; some things need a little more, but often the problems we deal with need fewer sessions. We’re certainly not looking to book you in for a predetermined number of sessions per week over the next six months!

Your first visit to a physiotherapist here will last up to an hour, allowing us to make a full assessment. We have a lot of questions to ask you, and need to hear everything you can tell us about why you have come: your medical history (or lack of), the things that make you feel better or worse, the things you like to do. The answers to our questions about your symptoms will enable us to see patterns which help us identify the cause of your problem.

During that first session, we will discuss what we believe the issue is – be it joint, muscle, nerve or technique.  And then we can start work on helping you to recover.

Physiotherapists use a range of techniques and we don’t all work in the same way. More importantly, no two patients are the same, even those with similar injuries.  We will never prescribe a set number of sessions or even a specific regime of treatment before assessing you. Most importantly, at every stage of your treatment, you should understand exactly what is going on and why.  If you don’t, just ask us.  We love to talk, almost as much as we love to listen!

Physiotherapy treatment will almost always involve some form of exercise to improve your muscular control (the most common cause of injuries we see).  It may also include hands-on treatment such as massage, gentle stretches or mobilisation of joints.  This is all done with the goal of enabling you to get the affected areas moving better yourself. We will also explain and advise on how to avoid the problem recurring.  Once you understand the nature of your injury or problem, and have been shown a way to manage it, then YOU are in control.  Every day, it is a thrill to see our patients being able to get on with looking after themselves and getting back to their normal routine.

Of course, not everything we see can be helped by physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are trained to recognise a whole host of medical problems however and, if we can’t help, we will refer you to the most suitable professional who can, either directly, or by liaising with your GP.

I hope this answers some of your questions about physiotherapy. Do drop us a line if you would like any more information at all.  As I said, we love to talk!