Questions to Ask the Doctor Before Getting Physiotherapy Treatment
So, you’ve got an injury, and it’s still pretty painful.
Your physician recommends that you consult a physical therapist, but you’re not sure how to go about it.
It’s difficult to know where to start when looking for physiotherapy treatment. Read on to learn what you need to know before seeing your therapist.
Starting Physiotherapy Treatment
We know that you probably have plenty of questions to ask before you begin your physiotherapy treatment, so we’ve outlined some of the most common questions and let you know the sort of answer you can expect.
Before you begin, it’s always a good idea to learn more about physiotherapy treatments and familiarize yourself with everything beforehand – health and safety always come first!
What’s the Issue?
This is probably the first question you should be asking. If you’re going to be seeing a physiotherapist, it’s important to be sure they know what they’re talking about, and if they’re experienced in dealing with similar conditions to yours.
Ideally, the best physical therapist will give you a clear answer without the medical jargon, so you know exactly what’s going on.
How Did It Happen and What Can We Do About It?
As important as it is to know what the issue is, you need to know how and why it happened. If the cause was something easily preventable, you’ll know what to do or what not to do in the future to stop the problem from reoccurring.
It can sometimes be hard to pinpoint the exact cause of a problem. If you have back pain, for example, you might be unsure as to the precise cause, which in turn makes it more difficult to treat. By knowing what causes the injury and what your particular diagnosis is, you are better equipped to make changes and adjust your life.
What’s the Solution?
Of course, you want to know what’s wrong and why, but the role of a physical therapist is to do what they can to help you – it’s important to ask them this question.
Will you be able to make a full recovery? Will the treatment only address the symptoms and not get to the true root of the problem? Once a physiotherapist gets rid of the symptoms, the real issue can remain and lead to further problems in the future.
Even if your physiotherapist can’t solve all of your problems right away, they should be able to offer constructive advice as to resolving any underlying causes.
What Are You Expecting From Me?
Alongside their physical therapist duties, they will be expecting you to play an active part in your recovery. Of course, the basics will include being punctual and appropriately dressed, but there may also be an expectation for you to perform certain exercises at home in your own time or to apply heat or ice when required.
It’s worth remembering that as helpful as physiotherapists are, you won’t see a change overnight – but you can move the process along by playing an active role while you’re at home.
How Long Will It Take?
Don’t expect an exact answer to a question like this. The role of a physical therapist is to help you get better, and it will take as long as it takes. That said, they can give an estimation based on their experience of patients with similar issues so you will have a rough idea of the time-frame.
Your physiotherapist may set a series of goals for you to achieve while on your way to reaching peak condition. Definitely do your best to meet these, as it prevents you from dragging out the treatment any longer than it needs to go on for.
What Will Sessions Entail?
At first, you’ll be assessed and evaluated, so that the PT can decide on the best plan of action for you. Once a treatment plan has been decided on, the real sessions will start, and these can differ slightly from physiotherapist to physiotherapist, but will generally include these:
- Asking you how you’re doing/If anything has changed since last time
- Manual therapy
- Therapeutic exercises
- Balance training
- Exercises and movements to try at home
Some physiotherapists might use machines, but manual therapy tends to be preferable as it activates deep muscle tissues and assists your movement, as well as working to ease your pain.
Will It Be You Treating Me?
Ideally, it’s best to see the same physiotherapist each session so that you can work on your plan together and really see the progression. This may not be possible if there are issues around scheduling, or high staff turnover, but seeing a range of different PTs can lead to a lot of miscommunication and frustration, so it should usually only be a last resort.
However, it might be the case that each physiotherapist at the clinic is an expert in a different discipline, so seeing different PTs as you go along your plan could be right for you. If the clinic does work in this way, they should be sure to let you know before you embark on a treatment program.
What Complimentary Therapies Are There and What Can I Do at Home?
Not every PTs will recommend trying other therapies alongside their treatment, but yours may recommend a practice like acupuncture – if you happen to be interested in a suggestion from your physiotherapist, you should discuss it over with them to make sure you’re doing what’s best for you.
Your PT might also advise you to make some changes to your lifestyle – you may have to stop going for that weekend swim or bike ride for a while. Let them know what activities you do regularly so that together you can work out what steps to take for best results when you’re away from the clinic.
Finding the Best Physical Therapist
Remember, you’re looking for the right physiotherapy treatment and therapist for you. What works for a friend might be different from what works for you, so you should ask these questions to PTs when you’re trying to find one to help you.
For more advice on keeping your body in great condition and staying healthy, check out the rest of our posts!