When Should You See a Physio?

When Should You See a Physio?

If you have ever been injured in a way that affected your mobility, chances are your doctor referred you to a physiotherapist. This is because physiotherapists are experts in human movement, focusing specifically on the musculoskeletal system and sometimes other body systems. They help to maintain health, restore mobility and promote healing and well-being after an injury, illness or disability. 

In Ontario, physiotherapists, or physical therapists, have had extensive training, including a four-year bachelor’s degree plus a three-year master’s degree. Thus, your physio likely understands your body better than you just by watching you walk or stand. They provide education, support, physical rehabilitation, performance training and even assist patients with stress management.

So, you may be wondering – what exactly can a physio help me with? And how soon after an injury or the onset of pain should I see a physio? Read on to find out.

What can a physio help with?

At some point or another, most people will end up working with a physical therapist. Whether to help recover from surgery, a sports injury, a repetitive strain or sprain, or even whiplash from a car accident, a guided treatment plan from a physio can help get you back on your feet in no time. 

A physiotherapist helps patients with their physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, fitness, mobility and health. When you are experiencing chronic or acute pain or an injury affecting your ability to move normally, a physiotherapist can perform a full assessment to identify the cause of the pain and discomfort. They will observe your posture and movement patterns and test your joint mobility and muscle strength in the area where you are experiencing pain, plus the surrounding joints and muscles. Once they have identified the cause, they will create a unique treatment plan specifically for you that will focus on improving your mobility and strengthening your muscles to help reduce pressure and pain in your joints. 

Why would you see a physio?

One reason to see a physio is to receive guided rehabilitation after a severe injury or surgery. With their guided treatment plan for rehabilitation, they will help you to restore movement and build strength in the injured area of your body. 

Of course, that’s not the only reason to receive physical therapy. In fact, there are several reasons one may request to work with a physiotherapist. Below you will find some of the most common reasons.

To prevent injuries

While most adults visit a physiotherapist after receiving an injury, they can also see a physio to help prevent future ones. Physical therapists specialize in injury prevention, meaning they help to correct a patient’s posture, form and movement patterns before an injury occurs. Your physiotherapist can assess your strength and movement and help you improve any problem areas to minimize the risk of injury or re-injury. A great time to seek advice from a physical therapist would be before you join a gym to reduce any risk of injuring yourself on your first visit.

To improve posture

Poor posture is one of the most common causes of persistent pain. People do not often think twice about their posture throughout the way, despite that more people than ever now spend eight or more hours a day sitting at a desk, either in school or at work. Poor posture can lead to pain or injuries in your neck, back and legs, and even frequent headaches. Your physiotherapist can help by educating you on a proper ergonomic setup and offering exercises to help improve your core stability muscles in order to reduce or prevent pain caused by poor posture.

To alleviate pain

Instead of having a specific starting point or injury, sometimes pain can be more widespread due to certain conditions such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis. It can be exhausting trying to manage chronic, widespread pain. Thankfully, your physio can help by using hands-on techniques to alleviate pain. They can desensitize specific nerve pathways by stimulating them with techniques such as massage and ice and heat therapy. 

To improve mobility

If you sit for prolonged periods, getting up to move and stretch throughout the day can make a huge difference in preventing work-related aches and pains. If you are one of many people who work at a computer all day, a stretching program from your physiotherapist can help you loosen your neck, shoulder, arm and forearm muscles to prevent repetitive strain injuries and headaches. 

To heal after surgery

If you have been through an extensive surgery that requires much bedrest after, chances are you will experience muscle weakness due to a lack of use. A physiotherapist can help you safely regain your muscle strength and fitness through physical rehabilitation post-surgery. 

To manage a disease

There are many incurable diseases where chronic or acute pain is a side effect, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and many more. The best thing people can do with these diseases is to learn how to manage them. A physical therapist can walk you through an appropriate exercise program and develop an ongoing treatment plan to help you manage your disease. 

How long should I wait before going to physio?

How long you should wait before going to physio depends on the type of pain or injury you have. 

If you have experienced an injury that’s causing pain or swelling, and it’s been more than three days, it’s time to visit your physio. The first three days of an injury are known as the inflammation stage, where your body tries to heal from the injury. After, the pain should pass. If it still hurts after three days, even just mild pain for half the time, it could mean the injury was more serious than you realized. 

If you are able to reproduce the pain, as in when you bend a certain way or reach another way, it means there is or was an injury to a specific area of your body, and it is still affected by it. Pain like this needs an assessment from your physiotherapist before you end up injuring yourself further by compensating for the first injury.

Lastly, if you have had persistent or chronic pain for a long time, even at a low or tolerable level, chances are it won’t go away on its own. You should see a physiotherapist to have yourself assessed and get started on a treatment plan to help you feel better.

How often are physio appointments?

How often you will need to see your physical therapist depends on your type of injury, the treatment plan, and how well your body responds to the physical therapy.

In some cases, patients may need to see their physiotherapist as often as four times a week. However, in most cases, people can get by with two to three physio appointments a week. Then, as the treatment progresses, appointments may be dropped down to once or twice a week. 

Book your appointment with True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness today

The longer pain or swelling persists, the more time it will likely take to recover. Also, the longer you put it off, the higher the chance your pain will go from mild to moderate to severe or even chronic. This can risk even further complications, such as requiring surgery in order to treat the problem causing the pain. While the body is great at healing itself, the right therapy and exercise can help you get back to your regular routine much faster. 

Call and schedule your initial consultation with the friendly staff members at True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness, today.

Call True Life Physiotherapy and Wellness today to schedule your initial consultation with one of our friendly staff members.

Contact True Life Physiotherapy & Wellness today to make an appointment with one of our courteous front-of-house staff members.

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