If it is the first time you are visiting a physiotherapist it is possible that you may have some questions related to what to wear, if it will hurt or when should you book an appointment, in this blog you will find answers to these questions.
Do I need a referral?
It depends, in some countries if you are seeking a government-funded physiotherapist you will need to be referred by your general doctor. In Malta, the government offers free physiotherapy through health centers without referrals. In any case, you don’t require a referral to visit a private physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are considered primary health care professionals that can diagnose your condition and treat you.
When should I visit a physiotherapist?
Physiotherapists are useful for both prevention and rehabilitation. You might be referred by your doctor if you went through surgery for example hip replacement so the physiotherapist will help you to recover sooner and with better results. Also, it is very common to go to the physiotherapist when there is a pain in some part of the body even if there is no idea of where that pain is coming from. That professionals also can work with patients that have lost mobility due to a neurological injury or after an accident. There are many other reasons why you should visit a physiotherapist such as problems in the bones, fatigue, palliative care… In general, you should visit a physiotherapist when you have an injury or pain that is affecting your daily life.
Do I need to wear special clothing?
It is highly recommended to wear comfortable clothing as it could be sports clothing. The reason why it is recommended is that during the session it is probable that the physiotherapist would need you to change your position several times so that the clothes need to allow those movements. Also, you will probably need to remove your shoes to lie on the physiotherapist’s table. Some physiotherapists will ask you to remove your T-shirt so they can put some cream on your skin to work better.
Will it hurt?
First of all, it depends on your condition and the part of your body that is damaged. In general, you may probably feel hard because the physiotherapist is treating parts of your body that are damaged but you won’t feel strong pain. In any case, it is important to communicate with your physiotherapist what you are feeling at any moment.
Is it the same as going to a massage?
The purpose of the massage is immediate relaxation and the purpose of physiotherapy is the rehabilitation of injury or ailment. The techniques that use each of the disciplines are very different. Massage professionals normally use techniques to improve circulation through the soft tissues and relieve pain. Physiotherapists diagnose and treat the client based on the exploration and medical history. The techniques they use are normally manual therapy or others such as electrotherapy intervention.
It is important for you to know that the whole process of rehabilitation does not exclusively include appointments with the physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will also teach you about exercises and good practices that you should train yourself periodically to improve your results.
If you would like to book a consultation with a physiotherapist, you can book an appointment here.
Celia is an intern and volunteer at Willingness. She is currently reading for a Masters in Neuropsychology in Spain.