Top Questions to Ask Your Physio
If you are waiting for your first session with us, or looking into whether a physiotherapist can help you this post is for you.
You might be surprised to know that as patients we recall up to 49% of the information received according to this UK study. That means that almost half of the information learned in your initial consultation could be lost. To help you through this process, we’ve compiled a list of the most common questions we as physiotherapists receive in our first consultation with you.
If you have any questions that you need answered, it is always a good idea to keep a list of them on hand in case your physio does not touch on it during the session.
As with all of these posts, these are a general guideline and may not always reflect your individual condition.
What is the cause of my pain and/or symptoms?
As we’ve touched on in our introductory series, your initial consultation with us will involve getting a detailed history about your condition and assessing the problem to determine the cause and create a tailored treatment plan for you. Sometimes there may be a definite injury or trauma that may have resulted in the symptoms/pain. For example, a fall on outstretched hand and having wrist pain may be worth screening for a wrist fracture. These can be very straightforward if you have a specific event that brought on the pain.
What if there is no injury that you can remember?
Sometimes your pain and symptoms could be over a few months of contributing factors. For example, repetitive lifting with one arm could make you more susceptible to tennis elbow. On the other hand, a few months of inactivity or rest may mean that your mobility has slowly declined. Our physiotherapist will screen for other causes of your pain if your symptoms are not suiting a mechanical cause.
How long will it take to recover?
Your recovery depends on the healing time-frames of your condition which will be explained to you by your physiotherapist. Dr Caleb Burgess has a great infographic summarising the general time-frames for recovery shown below. This is just a general guide. Your recovery may also be influenced by your previous time to heal (if this is a recurring injury) and your specific goals. If you have a goal to return to a specific task, training or competition, this may affect the length of your rehabilitation. For example, walking outdoors for 10 mins is very different to social bowls once a week or playing representative football. Each activity or sport has different demands on your body and you will need to be able to perform the activity as well as possible. Being pain-free at rest is simply not enough to be able to predict whether you can cope with 30 minutes of vigorous activity. Failure to plan and prepare yourself could lead to re-injury. One study found that the highest rate of re-injury of lateral ankle sprains occurs in the first year of the initial injury, and up to 55% of patients still reported instability.
What can I do to help?
The most important thing to take-away is that you are the biggest key to your own recovery. Your physiotherapist is there to help provide you with guidance and the tools to your own rehabilitation.
Early and consistent intervention is crucial. It is rare that you would see your physiotherapist daily – it is financially and physically draining and at the end of the day you cannot take your physio home! So it is up to you to be your biggest supporter by being an active agent in your recovery.
Your therapist may prescribe you with exercises for you to do in your own time. In most cases we try to encourage the “little and often” rule – try to do the exercises as much as you can into your day to build the habit and this can often make it easier to integrate into your busy life.
Will I be seeing just you all of the time?
You will mostly be seeing the physiotherapist from your initial consultation. That being said, sometimes they may be unavailable on certain days so you may see another therapist within our practice. If this is the case, your physiotherapist will ensure that your next treating physio is given a handover with your information to make sure you are receiving continuous care. If you would prefer to stick with the same physiotherapist, make sure that you ask for them by name when re-booking at our front desk or over the phone.
What can I do to prevent this injury happening again?
If your injury was something that could happen again, such as a sporting injury, ask your Physio about giving you further advice, such as strengthening exercises, proper warm up and stretching techniques, or a maintenance program for you to continue once you have recovered.
We are always happy to assist you with inquiries, so email or call us if you have any questions before your consultation to speak to our friendly admin staff. Needing more? Let us know what you think of this post and we might make it into a series!