If you are new or have experienced physiotherapy treatment in the past, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to maximize results. Just like any healthcare service in our medical system, it is important to be your own advocate to get the results you are trying to achieve.
Below are some suggestions to consider that will help you leave your treatment feeling satisfied and confident that you are getting the best results possible.
1) Find the Right Therapist for You
Talk to friends, family and co-workers who have had treatment and ask them what their experience was like. If they have a therapist they highly recommend then it is very likely that you will also have a positive experience with that therapist. Physiotherapists come with many different experiences and specialties. Check out the clinic’s website and read the therapist’s biography to understand where they have focused their education and what kind of specialized treatments they offer.
2) Come Prepared
Arrive on time or even a few minutes early. On you first visit you will have to fill out intake forms or you may have to change into more appropriate clothing. Physiotherapist’s run on a set schedule and to maximize your one-on-one time, make sure you are there and ready to go. Also, make sure your are wearing the right clothing. Clothing should be loose and should have the ability to expose the part of your body in question. If you are getting your knee or hip treated wear shorts and for shoulder treatments wear a tank top.
If you have insurance coverage, contact your provider to know what expenses your plan covers. This will help with treatment planning if you are concerned about the cost.
Elaborate on the things you can and cannot do because of your injury. Also, go into detail about how your pain/dysfunction is impacting your lifestyle. Ask questions if you feel you do not understand something or if you want to know why your therapist has chosen to do a certain treatment. Be honest with your therapist with any concerns you have with the treatment plan at the beginning and anytime throughout your treatment.
4) Set Goals
Be clear with your therapist on what your goals with physiotherapy are. Everyone’s injury and goals are different. Do you want pain relief or are you running a marathon in 2 months? Your physiotherapist is part of your health care team with the common goal of getting you better as quickly and optimally as possible.
Here’s a new buzzword meaning “controlled attentiveness”. It is important that you commit to your therapy and take an active role in your recovery. You will most likely only see your therapist 1-3x/week for 30 minutes so it is important that while you are outside of the clinic you are taking responsibility. Make sure you are doing your exercises and self-management as prescribed. While doing your homework, pay attention to how you feel and what muscles you are working on. If you feel like you are not doing them right, talk to your therapist right away.
6) Accept the Process and be Patient
Healing does not happen overnight. It takes time for this process to occur. Follow through with your physiotherapy program-commit to it! Try not to rush your healing as your therapist is already on your side trying to get you better as quickly as possible.Remember, that the longer your pain has been present, the more tissue damage there will be. Also, with longstanding pain, your body will develop more imbalances and compensations and these can take some time to retrain and correct.
Be aware of the lifestyle issues that may have led to the injury in the first place and try to make changes to prevent future injuries or flare-ups.
In the end, the process and experience is what you make of it. Be proactive and prevent injury, stay healthy and active. If you are experiencing pain that has not resolved on it’s own in 2 weeks, then come see a Physiotherapist. If you have chronic pain and have not done anything for it, come in and see if there is anything that a physiotherapist can do. Accidents happen and injuries will occur. Get them looked after before they turn into more pain down the line.