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Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting a Physiotherapist

A physiotherapist can help with healing after an injury or surgery and can help a patient adjust to conditions that may affect their mobility such as arthritis. If you’re never visited a physiotherapist before, you may wonder about how the visits work since it’s much different than visiting your regular doctor for a checkup. Note some questions that are often asked about physiotherapists and which you’ll want to check with your therapist or clinic before treatment begins.

1. Why is an initial assessment needed?

An initial assessment is always needed for physiotherapy because each patient will have a varying degree of mobility after an accident or injury and will heal on their own schedule. A physiotherapist will want to assess your mobility, overall physical strength, and other such factors in order to create a schedule of therapy for you. 

This too is important to consider as you don’t want to assume that your schedule of therapy will be the same as anyone else’s. Even if a friend has had the same type of surgery as you, don’t assume that your therapy will be the same as theirs or last as long as theirs, but it will instead be designed for you personally.

2. Can a person use a gym or exercise when undergoing physiotherapy?

This answer will depend on your therapy schedule and your own injuries or condition. However, it’s vital that you note the answer from your physiotherapist, because you typically cannot speed up your healing or increase your mobility by increasing your physiotherapy schedule or trying to supplement it with a workout. You may actually cause damage to muscles and tendons that are already torn or put added stress and strain on certain areas that are not yet strong enough to support your workout routine. Always discuss this with your therapist and follow their recommendations carefully.

3. Is a doctor’s referral necessary?

You may need a doctor’s referral for physiotherapy if you assume your medical insurer will pay for the visits. If you will be paying for the visits on your own, this will depend on the therapist or clinic. Some will only work by doctor’s referrals, whereas others may simply work with someone who has aches and pains, is suffering lack of mobility from older injuries, or who otherwise simply needs the services of a physiotherapist. Be sure you ask about this referral before making an appointment so you know if it will be needed.