You do not have to see a GP prior to seeing a physiotherapist, as physiotherapists are primary healthcare practitioners – however, if your condition relates to an insurance claim, it is recommended to have a GP or specialist referral.
In your initial consultation, your practitioner will review your medical history, evaluate any images that you might have and then conduct a physical examination. The physical examination will involve palpation (touch), movement and observation to allow the physiotherapist to arrive at a diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is ascertained, an action plan will be formulated to work out the best way forward for treatment. The physiotherapist may recommend further imaging or a referral onto a specialist – this will be discussed with you. Otherwise, with your consent, treatment will commence and exercises will be given.
Each patient will leave their consultation with a diagnosis and a prognosis, including how many appointments will be required and how long the condition should take to settle.
You should wear comfortable clothing – gym or athletic wear is preferable – and clothing that you can remove easily if required when doing massages or manual treatments.
This will vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of the problem. You will be given a treatment plan after your consultation that is tailored specifically for you and that is designed to give you the best possible outcome.
Your treatment plan will have a recommended session plan and schedule, however, this could change as your treatment progresses, depending on how well you respond to it.
This depends on the problem and your diagnosis. Physiotherapists are trained in a wide variety of different techniques and your physiotherapist will decide which methods are the most appropriate.
Common treatments include:
- Manual therapy (stretching, resistance and joint manipulation)
- Trigger point therapy (applying direct pressure to the problem area)
- Posture correction
Your treatment plan is likely to involve a combination of these techniques – or all of them. It could also involve additional treatments such as hydrotherapy or acupuncture.
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