Is this your first time visiting a physiotherapist? What does the first visit entail? What will I need to wear? Will it be painful? This blog has been written to hopefully answer all your questions and give you peace of mind before your first physiotherapy appointment.

Firstly, why choose a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapy involves facilitating recovery, movement and function if you are affected by injury, illness or disability. It can also help to prevent or reduce your risk of injury or illness in the future.

At Fay Pedler Physiotherapy we take a holistic approach to treatment, this means that we involve you directly in your own care. We believe that the more educated you are about your condition the more you are empowered to participate and fulfil your recovery potential. We engage with you to talk through all available treatment options from the most current evidence-based practice. Treatments provided in physiotherapy may include exercises for strength, conditioning and flexibility, manual therapy, taping, acupuncture, shockwave therapy and soft tissue release.     

On the day of your appointment

On the day of your appointment arrive a few minutes early so that our receptionists have time to ask you to read and fill out our consent form. It is also important that you wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing (shorts, t-shirt, vest top etc). This helps your physiotherapist assess your movement, your musculature and undertake specific exercises. If the area of your body that is causing symptoms is covered by clothing you will be asked to remove it so that the therapist can gain a better understanding about the problem and observe the joints above and below.

On your initial assessment, you will be with your physiotherapist for 45 minutes. The first part of the assessment you will be asked questions about your problem, symptoms, concerns, perceptions and general health. This helps the therapist form a good understanding of the source of your discomfort; help them form a primary and secondary hypothesis (diagnosis), possible methods of treatment and likely prognosis of the injury.

Physical examination

The initial part of the examination consists of gait, movement and posture analysis to see how your affected area impacts on your movement. Your physiotherapist will then look more closely around the affected area. This includes a range of movement, strength, flexibility, stability and joint tests. Some of the tests undertaken may be uncomfortable, however, this is necessary and useful for the physiotherapist as it can highlight the structure that is causing the discomfort. If at any point you feel unsure about the tests or assessment, then all you need to do is ask for clarification. Your physiotherapist will be more than happy to answer your questions.

When your physiotherapist has undertaken the assessment they will provide you with information regarding what they have found so that you have a thorough understanding about your problem. They will highlight treatment goals, time scales for recovery and all available treatment options from the best and most current evidence-based practice. Your treatment will commence once you and your therapist have chosen the best course of treatment that suits your individual needs.

As part of your treatment, you may receive manual therapy and you will be expected to undertake an individualised tailored home exercise programme. Your therapist will guide you through your home exercises before you leave the treatment room. Depending on the condition that is causing the problem some exercise and manual therapy may cause discomfort. This is sometimes necessary for recovery and discomfort eases as your condition starts to improve. Your physiotherapist will review, progress and adapt exercises and manual therapy techniques depending on the response to treatment. 

Finally, if following your initial assessment we feel that physiotherapy is not appropriate, we will advise on how best to manage your condition. We have established links and understanding of local NHS pathways, Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgeons, Podiatrists and local General Practitioners. If onward referral is required we will be only too happy to facilitate this.