The 6 Things You Need to Know Before Seeing a Physiotherapist!
Specifically a musculoskeletal physiotherapist (someone that treats soft tissue and bone injuries). By Rebecca Walsh
#1 Many people don’t know that they can see a physiotherapist before they see their GP.
Physiotherapists (physios) are perfectly placed to assess and evaluate the severity of injuries and will refer back to a GP when appropriate. Physios undergo a three year undergraduate degree as well as continued development throughout their careers, and should also have Chartered status (see Chartered Society of Physiotherapy for details) and Health and Care Professions Council registration.
#2 Physiotherapy / Rehabilitation is a ‘joint’ effort
If you're not serious about getting rid of your pain then physio is not for you. Physios are not miracle workers (as much as we would like to be) and therefore it takes a bit of work, sometimes a lot, on your part to facilitate the rehab process to ensure you get the best outcome in the shortest possible time!
#3 You’re never too old for homework!
Unless you intend to set up camp at your physiotherapy clinic then you will be given homework. This will help you to get the most out of your sessions with the physio and means you can get rid of your pain faster and get back to living the life that you want and deserve.
#4 Rehab doesn’t finish on the couch
Soft tissue therapy, mobilisations, and massages are important parts of treatment, however, in order to complete your rehabilitation you need to get off the couch and ensure your body can do the things you want it to do, pain-free, and without causing compensations elsewhere in the body. This means your therapist has to challenge your movements and your ability to produce and absorb appropriate forces which will ensure you're ‘ready’ to return to your normal activities and are not at unnecessary risk of another injury.
#5 You don’t have to be in pain to see a physiotherapist.
Some physios are trained in the use of screening tools and certain tests to help identify risk. This may be your risk of getting an injury or your risk of falling (a particular worry as you get older). If you're starting a new exercise programme, going to the gym for the first time, starting your next season of sport, starting to have problems going up and down the stairs or just walking then this sort of assessment can help you.
#6 Physiotherapy vs. Surgery
Conservative treatment for musculoskeletal problems should almost always be considered before surgery becomes an option. It is imperative to find out WHY you've had to have surgery in the first place. In our many years of experience it's because of a previous injury somewhere else on the body that has not been sufficiently rehabilitated leading to excessive ‘wear and tear’ on a joint, increased strain on muscles and tendons, and ultimately the pain you are now experiencing. In some cases surgery still has to take place, but the answer to the WHY still needs addressing or other issues can manifest over time (this can be weeks, months or years later).