4 things to expect on your first Physiotherapy appointment

Be it a dentist, a doctor’s appointment or a physiotherapy appointment, there is just something about seeing a medical professional that can be slightly unsettling.  

Maybe this is your first time and you are not sure what to expect.  

Maybe you had physiotherapy before and because you haven’t seen much progress you want to switch clinics to try something different.  

If you’re someone for whom appointments with a medical professional are associated with apprehension, you are not alone.  

You could even be among the “I-don’t-overthink-it-I-just-wing-it” type of people and you just want some information. Talk about being in the right place at the right time, eh? 

Before we were service providers, we were recipients of physiotherapy services first hand so we get it. 

Information and/or reassurance, you’ll find both here, at Revere!  

Rates and Billing aside, this post is meant to break down all uncertainty about your first physio appointment.  

An average Physiotherapy session lasts between 30-45 minutes and is inclusive of the following 4 steps. 

The 4 step of Physiotherapy session process:

Now there are a lot different ways a physiotherapy session can go depending on the need of the client, but this is a general guideline on what to expect. 

1. An interview detailing your medical and relevant history
  • A physiotherapist will ask you questions and take a subjective history of your background. This is important information to shape our framework for the assessment. The more information we can get from you, the better!
  •  To give you an example, you will always be asked about the history of your injury: when it started, how it started, and what happened.
  • You will be asked about your social history: your job, hobbies, and activities which gives a greater understanding of the cause of the injury and its impact on day-to-day life.
  • You will also be asked about previous injuries and general medical health. The greatest predictor of future injury is past ones. This helps us categorize the issue at hand, for example, acute vs chronic, bone vs tissue, local vs systemic, and mobility vs stability.

2. Examination or Assessment 
  • An objective full-body assessment will then be the next step.
  • The quality/length of the assessment can vary in nature due to every therapist’s background and experience. 
  • Every therapist has their own specialties and education so don’t be afraid to visit more than one. This is why Revere Physiotherapist’s Team session is a useful option to explore.
  • A thorough assessment will not only help solve your injury in a quicker and more efficient manner, but it will also help prevent future injuries.
  • A quick example will help clarify; many clients come in with chronic low back pain, but there are over a dozen causes and factors that influence the rate of recovery. Focusing on assessing and treating only the low back, is a short-sighted approach to the condition and your symptoms. Assessing the neck, upper back, hips, and ankles provide valuable information on overall posture and athleticism.

Holistic care implies we look at the body as a whole to determine the best treatment strategy. 

3. Treatment
  • Treatment can come in many forms with the final goal to get you moving better and pain-free.
  • The therapist may use their hands for manual therapy, mobilization, and manipulation techniques to reset soft tissue, joints and muscles.
  • The therapists may choose to use dry needling (IMS or acupuncture) and IASTR (Instrument assisted soft tissue release) to accomplish a similar goal such as in the case of more chronic/long-standing injuries.
  • Modalities such as ultrasound, laser, TENs, IFC are typically used in the acute stages of an injury to increase circulation and decrease inflammation. 
  • Your physiotherapist will determine one or more of these techniques as the most efficient option to release or reset the muscle/joint.

4. An individualized exercise regime
  • The next step is to reinforce this manipulation through taping, stretching, or stabilization exercises.
  • Your therapist will want you to reload and retrain your body with the correct exercises so your body is moving better. This will usually come in the form of strengthening or motor control exercises
  • The last thing you will do on your appointment is collaborated with your therapist on deciding the future course of action. You will most likely need a few more visits to recover completely.
  • It’s important to remember that this is a general framework and might vary depending on individual needs.

And voila! That is your first physiotherapy session. Congratulations on taking a big step towards better health and movement! 

That said, if you feel ready to begin your treatment book a session with us and we’ll take it from there, you’re in good hands! 

On the other hand, if you have any questions reach out to us. We are more than happy to alleviate your concerns and put you at ease.  

Visit our services page to learn about rates, billing and insurance coverage. 

In the meantime, if this post was informative do share it with friends who are putting off a much-needed physiotherapy session.  

How did you prepare for your first physio appointment? Let us know if there are any specific questions you have about the physiotherapy process that you would like us to address in our next post. 

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