3 Top Tips for Getting More Out of Your Physio Appointments
Have you booked yourself an appointment with a physiotherapist and you’re not sure what to expect? Perhaps you’re also concerned that you won’t get the most for your time and money? Whether you are seeing a private or NHS physio, your priorities won’t change hugely. You’ll want the best outcome possible with the least disruption to your time and least expense.
Follow our three tops tips, which you can easily do beforehand to ensure you get the most out of your sessions:
1. Prepare to Bare
Your physiotherapist will definitely want to see and touch the skin over the injured or painful area. They will probably want to get their hands on areas just above or below this too. Prepare yourself for this ahead of time and ensure you are appropriately dressed or come armed with the right layers. If you’re being seen to treat your shoulder, be prepared to slip off your top or for ladies, wear a top with very skinny straps if you prefer. Short shorts are fantastic for leg conditions and allow a physio to fully assess and treat. You’ll get more time spent on these valuable assessments and treatments and less time hoiking up a trouser leg to make do, or popping towels over you to ensure you aren’t left embarrassed! Also worth bringing along your trainers or other pairs of shoes you wear often – physios can determine a lot from a pair of shoes!
2. Think About Your Symptoms
An extremely valuable part of the assessment of any condition is a thorough analysis of what makes it better or worse. This enables the therapist to clearly diagnose the problem, but also to set irritability levels. This gives the therapist a better idea of how much they can do in a session without potentially making you sore afterwards. Not being able to clearly identify this means the therapist has less information to make these decisions on and is therefore cautious in treatment initially. It may also mean they need more time to delve into these things. Have a good think about your symptoms, write them down and bring them to your appointment. Some things to think about and even write down are:
- History of the problem – when did it start? Is it the same, getting better or worse since it started? Is it the first time of having this problem? Have you had any investigations like blood tests, scans or X-rays?
- Any previous treatment – have you had any medical treatment or other treatment i.e. Another physio, chiropractic or osteopath?
- What things make the problem worse and what things make it better?
- Do you have more pain at night or first thing in the morning?
- What medications are you on? Take a list with you to the physio
- Do you have any other symptoms like pins and needles, numbness, sweating, giving way or locking etc?
- What would you like to get back to doing that the problem is stopping you from doing now?
This gives you time to think about the answers a little before you get there, making a clearer assessment of how much you are able to do. For example, if walking stirs up your knee complaint, you can monitor it to see approximately how much you can do before it starts, or when it starts after certain walking patterns, or after walking on different terrains.
3. Be Honest About Your Homework
Everyone struggles to start new routines. If your therapist has given you new exercises to treat your condition and you know you cannot fit them all in as they take you over an hour to complete, then you must say. Saying you’ve done them when you haven’t will potentially reduce the therapist’s confidence in their diagnosis, as they would have expected you to improve within certain time scales. Conversely, not doing them means you won’t see the benefits attached, so be honest and get a short succinct programme for you that is manageable. Talk over difficulties with why you can’t fit them in, as your therapist will have a million ideas about how you can fit them into your usual routine that you may not have thought of.