In order to answer one of our most asked questions, we first need to delve into another popular question. So, this week, we are turning our AMA into a two-parter.
QUESTION 4: WHAT HAPPENS IN A PHYSIOTHERAPY SESSION?
If you are considering physiotherapy for an injury or have already been referred by a doctor or other healthcare professional and wondering what to expect from your treatment sessions, let us walk you through our standard approach.
Each physiotherapist’s initial assessment approach will differ slightly and will depend on the specific client and injury. In general terms, there are three main parts of an initial assessment:
- Subjective History – Your physiotherapist will start with a conversation about your current concerns, signs, symptoms and pain patterns, a review of your past medical history, medical notes, any diagnostic tests (MRIs, X-rays, CT scans, etc.), and a discussion about your goals of physiotherapy.
- Objective Assessment – Your physiotherapist will complete a physical assessment, including assessments of joint range of motion, strength, reflexes, sensation, functional movements, balance, endurance, etc. and any other assessments that are relevant to your current injury or neurological disorder. The objective assessment also includes a postural analysis in a seated and/ or standing position. If you are a wheelchair user or have a mobility device, your physiotherapist can also assess how well you are using it and if it is appropriate for you.
- Diagnosis / Treatment Plan Following a detailed assessment, your physiotherapist will discuss their assessment findings and diagnosis with you, the potential cause(s) of the problem, and the most effective treatment plan for your current diagnosis and your individualized goals.
The initial assessment at Propel Physiotherapy is scheduled for one hour. This will include time to provide physiotherapy treatment at the clinic.
After your initial assessment session, subsequent treatment sessions will be based on your physiotherapist’s recommendations and your goals. Physiotherapy treatment can vary widely, but will usually include one or more of the following:
- Therapeutic exercises and home exercise programs
- Education about your injury, activity modifications, posture, etc.
- Manual therapy – including stretching, joint mobilizations, and soft tissue massage / release
- Electrical modalities, such as Therapeutic Ultrasound, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and Shockwave Therapy
- Neurological rehabilitation based on the NDT/ Bobath approach
- Pelvic floor therapy
- Orthotics or physiotherapeutic equipment recommendations
- Vestibular rehabilitation
- Injury prevention
- Referral to water/ hydrotherapy
Treatment sessions can be shorter (as quick as 15 minutes) or longer (up to 90 minutes) than the initial assessment, depending on the physiotherapy treatment required by that client.
QUESTION 5: HOW MANY PHYSIOTHERAPY SESSIONS WILL I NEED?
This is a very popular question, but a very difficulty one to answer accurately before the initial assessment is completed. You may only need the treatment and education that you receive during the initial assessment, or you may need months of rehabilitation. The answer to this question greatly depends on your diagnosis, the severity or chronicity of your injury, your past medical history, and a variety of other factors.
After your initial assessment is complete, have a discussion with your physiotherapist about how many treatment sessions they would recommend. Your physiotherapist will complete short re-evaluations during each treatment session to monitor your progress and to customize the treatment to any changes to the diagnosis or improvements in your injury.
Feel free to ask your physiotherapist for their professional opinion at any time about how many more sessions you may need.
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