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What to Expect from a Physiotherapy Consultation

Health & Wellness
Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

If an aching back, stiff neck or wonky knee is stopping you from doing the things you love a visit to a physiotherapist might help.

Physiotherapy can be used to assess and treat movement and musculoskeletal problems including:

  • Joint, muscle and nerve pain
  • Migraine and headaches
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Whiplash
  • Arthritis
  • Injury from sports or accidents
  • Respiratory conditions

Physiotherapy can be used to treat babies, pregnant women, athletes and the elderly.

Physiotherapists Diagnose

You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see a physiotherapist. At your first appointment the physiotherapist (or ‘physio’) will ask about your medical history, your work environment and lifestyle. He/She may ask you to perform some very simply movements such as bending forward, balancing on one leg or turning your head. The physio will also assess your range of movement by gently moving your legs, arms, spine or hips.

Physiotherapy Looks for the Cause

A physiotherapist will look for the cause of your condition and set out a treatment plan that they believe will relieve your symptoms and address the cause of your problem. They will discuss possible treatment options with you, which may include:

  • Mobilisation
  • Manipulation
  • Functional exercise
  • Postural assessment and correction
  • Massage
  • Electrotherapy such as ultrasound, TENS, interferential and laser
  • Heat
  • Dry needling
  • Tapping

A phsiotherapist will never manipulate your head or spine unless they believe it will benefit you. They will discuss it with your beforehand.

Expect Homework From Your Physio

You can expect to get some homework from your physio. They may suggest gentle exercises and lifestyle changes that will help ease your condition and bring long-term relief.

Physiotherapy Partnership

Some people see and feel benefits after only one physiotherapy consultation but most people need four or more to begin to notice the benefits. You and your physiotherapist will work together to address your concerns. If necessary, your physio will also work closely with other health care practitioners to offer you the best possible outcome.

Physiotherapy Costs

Your first appointment may take up to one hour and cost anything from $65 to $120. Follow-up appointments are usually shorter (30-45 minutes) and cost from $55-$95. If you have private health insurance you may be eligible for a rebate.

Phyisotherapists are trained to assess, diagnose and help people with all sorts of movement problems. They work in partnership with you and other health care providers to ease your symptoms and help you maintain independence and a health body.

Find a physiotherapist in your local area.

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Originally published on Aug 03, 2011

FAQs About Physiotherapy

How quickly does physiotherapy work?

Physiotherapy aims to restore the body's function, movement and vitality. Treating minor injuries could roughly take two to three sessions. Tissue repair may take about two months, while the treatment of more serious conditions could take longer.

What does a physiotherapy assessment involve?

Aside from checking your medical history, occupation and lifestyle, the physiotherapist will assess your range of movement. You may be asked to perform basic movements such as bending forward, balancing on one leg and rotating your head or tilting it backward and forward.

Your physio will also move and examine your legs and arms to identify the root cause of your pain and immobility.

Do physiotherapists do massage?

Yes. Massaging is one of the several treatment options a physiotherapist may recommend to relieve pain and improve mobility of the muscles and joints.

Can physio make things worse?

No if it was performed by a certified physical therapist. A qualified physiotherapist is trained in treating the source of pain with a wide range of manipulation techniques and exercises.

How often should you do physio exercises?

To recover quickly, you need to regularly perform the exercise program prescribed by your physiotherapist. Studies have shown that combining physiotherapy with home exercises for at least two to three weeks will speed up your recovery.

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