There are many questions we get asked about Physiotherapy. Anything from “what should I wear to an appointment?” to “what does Physiotherapy actually do?”. Here we hope to answer many of your questions, and some you may not have thought of.
An appointment with a physio involves an interview and physical examination of any problem areas that the patient raises. From there, treatment and a recovery plan is put in place to fix your injury and prevent it from being an issue in the future. Depending on your circumstance, multiple appointments may be necessary. Read more.
Typically, an appointment will last 30-60 minutes depending on your condition. If you are required to attend further treatment, your Physio will advise you on how long these sessions will last.
While some health insurance policies require a referral, Physiotherapists are primary health care providers and do not require a referral to see. If the injury is eligible for third-party coverage (TAC, Veterans Affairs, WorkCover) typically a Doctor’s referral is required.
Physiotherapists have knowledge and experience in supporting and caring for people of all ages with mobility, pain, speech, sensory, musculoskeletal and psychological problems. They can help people manage their conditions so they can live as independently as possible.
Physiotherapists are first contact practitioners and do not require a referral from a doctor, therefore, like doctors, are able to diagnose an injury, and follow it up with a treatment plan.
You may be eligible for up to five allied health sessions per year, partly covered by medicare. A small gap is payable in most cases, and your rebate is typically paid later the same day. You will need a referral from your GP.
Your physio will need to have a good view of the affected body part. Shorts and a T-shirt are ideal as many problem areas can be accessed easily, such as arm or leg injuries.
In some cases you may be asked to undress to underwear depending on the circumstance surrounding your injury. In that case, wear appropriate underwear or shorts and a singlet.
Treatment should not hurt excessively. While some cases may require some heavier force to reproduce symptoms, a patient should never be in strong pain. If you are feeling discomfort, please inform your physio.
Physiotherapy as a profession has a commitment to following Evidence Based Practice. This means that ongoing research rigorously tests the effect of common techniques (manual therapy, exercise, education) against sham or other techniques. If a technique isn’t any more effective than placebo, then we stop using it. In this way we ensure we continue to improve the effectiveness of our approach, and ensure high-value, effective care.
Generally, you will attend physiotherapy until you have reached the specified goals put in place from both you and your physio. As time progresses, your appointments will be fewer and further between. Stopping early can result in regression and aggravation of the injury.
The most common type of injury treated by a physiotherapist are sports injuries. Many of these are joint and muscle strains, followed by tendon and overuse injuries.
In short, there is not much difference. Some argue that physiotherapy is a more hands on approach to rehabilitation, while physical therapy is a more exercise based approach.
If you are experiencing regular discomfort, aching or strong pain, you should absolutely see a physio. There is likely an underlying issue causing the pain and can be pin pointed by a physio and prevented from reoccurring.
Even if you are not injured, you may benefit from visiting a physio. They are movement experts that can help you prevent future injury.
If you are an individual interested in improving physical health and working one on one with patients, then Physiotherapy is the job for you. It is a very satisfying field as you help and witness patients go from limited capability to full movement. Seeing that kind of progression is very rewarding.