What is a Physiotherapist?
You may have been told to see a Physio by your GP, health professional, friend or relative. But what does a Physiotherapist do and what benefits will you get when you go to see one?!
Physiotherapy or physical therapy uses PHYSICAL techniques to help promote, maintain and restore physical function to people who may have been affected by injury, illness or disability.
A Physiotherapist is a Degree educated professional. All practising Physiotherapists must be registered with the HCPC (Health Care and Professional Council). All the Physiotherapists that work for Physio-Flex are Chartered Physiotherapists, and members of the CSP (Chartered Society of Physiotherapists). To qualify as a Chartered Physiotherapist means that in addition to their degree they have undergone further professional development, training and professional practice. To keep their registration up-to-date there are strict criteria for Physiotherapists to provide evidence of their ongoing learning and skills to make sure that they provide the best care for their clients throughout their full working life. At Physio-Flex every Physiotherapist undertakes 4-5 hours of training per week and this investment in their training ensures our clients receive the best advice and hands-on therapy for safe, speedy recovery and improvement.
What do Physiotherapists do?
When you first visit a Physiotherapist, as independent professionals, the Physio will make their own assessments and diagnosis of your condition and make clinical decisions that may involve a variety of techniques, such as mobilisation techniques, massage, exercise, ultra-sound or acupuncture to treat your issue. Just like the doctor would prescribe medication (the use of chemical energy) a Physiotherapist will use movement or exercise to help with pain and improve function (kinetic energy).
Physiotherapists chose treatments using the best and most up-to-date medical evidence to help you maximise your recovery. Treatments can vary greatly as they are designed specifically for you and it can be anything from hands-on manual treatments and massage, education and advice, postural corrections, strength and conditioning work and rehabilitation. Physiotherapists always treat the whole person not just their condition as such treatment will be individual to you and relevant to your level of function and what you want to get back to doing!
Physiotherapists are involved in so many aspects of recovery that it can be confusing for people to know what they are getting! Are Physiotherapists like Doctors? Massage Therapists? Chiropractors? Osteopaths? Personal Trainers? Life Coaches? Acupuncturists? Nurses? In truth we are like all these professions in one! We would like to point out that as Physiotherapists we, like Doctors and Nurses, are trained professionals. Many Massage Therapists, Life Coaches, Personal Trainers do not require the same training, nor work in regulated industry and as such their levels of competency can be widely varied.
Physiotherapists are well equipped to assess and treat many conditions – sometimes we diagnose and refer on to consultants, sometimes we take you to the gym or give exercises for home, sometimes we give you a massage or manipulate your joints, sometimes we speak to you about your lifestyle and how to be healthier. We work with broken bones, sore backs and necks, sports people, sports injuries, clients who have had a stroke, or fallen and need to improve their balance. Our job is to help and work with EVERYONE with a physical issue to make them get back to normal life, or as normal a life as their condition will allow.
What Physiotherapists are great at, regardless of your problem, is getting you functionally better! Helping you to get back to what you WANT to do! We tailor our treatment and advice to your goals and life.
What happens at my first appointment?
Physiotherapist have a duty of care to their patients, information you provide is confidential and private.
At your first appointment your Physiotherapist will always undertake an initial assessment. The more information you can provide the better, and if you have any referrals from a Doctor or Surgeon please share these with your Physio. The clinic rooms are private, so you don’t need to worry about someone overhearing. Physiotherapy involves a lot of listening and in your first assessment we will talk you through the history of your current issue, your medical history and lifestyle. It is important that we know as much as possible about you and your health so that we can treat you correctly, so please be patient with us and be prepared for a lot of questions.
At Physio-Flex, we often send out an email asking for some of this information before your appointment. Completing this gives more time for treatment at the first appointment.
Your Therapist will then complete a physical assessment, observing your posture and testing your movements in standing, sitting and lying. The Therapist may move your limbs to check flexibility and may feel (palpate) your muscles, tendons and joints to get a sense of what is happening in the tissue.
Sometimes this initial examination may involve getting undressed to a degree, so it is recommended that if you have an issue with your legs, hips or lower back you bring your shorts; if your issue affects your upper back, neck, shoulders or arms please bring or wear a strapped vest. It is important that you are comfortable, and that the physiotherapist can see the area well. Don’t worry if you forget your shorts or vest, we always have a spare set in the clinic.
The assessment is to determine the cause of your problem and therefore some of the tests may cause mild discomfort as this is part of how we positively determine the correct diagnosis for you. Please give your Physiotherapist feedback on how these tests make you feel as this will help them to choose the most appropriate tests for you.
Following your assessment, the Physiotherapist will explain the assessment findings and answer any questions you may have. An individualised treatment plan will then be developed in discussion with you and if possible, treatment commenced at this first appointment.
What does Physiotherapy treatment involve?
There are many treatment options. Your Physiotherapist will discuss the most effective type of treatments with you and you will jointly decide on the treatment plan. At Physio-Flex we believe the best outcomes are achieved with a combination of hands-on and exercise type of treatments,
Typical treatment may include –
- Postural correction
- Exercise prescriptions – this may include gentle exercises at home, gym exercises or return to sports programme
- Soft tissue treatments including massage, trigger point therapy
- Joint mobilisations or manipulations
- Acupuncture or medical acupuncture/dry needling
- Advice and education
How many sessions will I need?
The number of sessions varies greatly from person to person, and issue to issue and to the extent of the problem, how long you have had the issue, your fitness level and your lifestyle prior to having the pain.
It may be that you want an assessment and advice only or you may need a long-term treatment and rehabilitation programme. Your Physiotherapist will discuss which options are best for you and at Physio-Flex we tailor your programme depending on your needs as well as your preferences and lifestyle. Your Physiotherapist will outline how many sessions they think you will need, and this will be re-evaluated as treatment progresses. Regardless of how many sessions you attend, we will work with you to get the best out of any sessions we provide.
What can you expect following your assessment?
You may feel a little sore after the assessment as we have asked you to move in ways that your body doesn’t like! It is common to have post assessment or treatment soreness which can last 2-3 days and also you may, like any exercise session, be dehydrated.
To help with these after effects you can:
- Apply a cold compress to your muscles to reduce stiffness or discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water to replenish fluids and reduce dehydration
- Avoid alcohol or caffeine for 12 hours as this can cause further dehydration
- Rest and relax!
If you are concerned please call us on 01506 237770 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
We Specialise In
Soft Tissue Techniques
Targets your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves to improve the mobility of stiff muscles, improve circulation and help release tension, decreasing pain, improving the tone of your muscle and helping to break up underlying scar tissue.
Strength and Endurance
A key element of rehabilitation we will show and work with you to increase the strength and endurance of your muscles, joints and tendons to prevent re-occurence of certain issues.
Joint Manipulation and Mobilisation
A hands-on treatment that activates the nerves and muscles that work with the joints. This treatment is a highly effective and efficient way of achieving pain relief, restoring pain-free movement and improving function..
Helps with pain after trauma, surgery, or if your muscles and joints feel tight. Myofascial release works through lengthening and adding flexibility to muscles and tissues to facilitate movement, improve posture and enable easier movement.
Advice and Education
To prevent re-occurrence and help you manage long term issues on a day to day basis we provide advice and information to allow you to self manage your condition and get the best long term results.
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Life changing and Life enhancing
Don't endure those painful conditions any longer, or have your physical activity hampered through injury. Our treatments and therapies can fix or improve those long-term aches pains, or sports injuries, to help get your active life back on track. For some active live is getting back to normal full health, for others active life may be improvement on function and doing the simple activities of daily living they are currently struggling with. One client was delighted that she could hang out her washing again on the line!