Although most people would have been to see a physiotherapist at least once in their life, for others who haven’t I very much appreciate how daunting it can be. Already you’re in pain and you have no idea why. This in itself is horrible enough but don’t worry, I am super friendly and the first thing I do is greet you with the broadest smile and put you right at ease.
With any visit, my primary aim is to assess, diagnose, clinically reason what’s causing your pain and ultimately treat just that. I will explain this all to you before we start. However what to expect for your first visit will depend on where I see you (at home, work, online or in clinic) and what I’m seeing you for. Here are some general trends to expect.
A FEW QUESTIONS
Initially, we will have a 10-15 minute in-depth conversation of where your pain is, what type of pain it is, what makes it worse/better and how it behaves in the morning compared to the day time/evening. I will also need to know anything in your past medical history that might be relevant e.g. previous surgeries, if you’ve been diagnosed with conditions such as Asthma, high blood pressure Arthritis and so on. Furthermore, it would be handy to also know what tablets you are on as that might give me as idea of any underlying issues or whether or not the tablets are working and why.
Following this, I will then need to assess you objectively. This is the bit that differs depending on the location and the reason for your visit. Please see below:
OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT AT WORK OR IN CLINIC.
More than likely, you will need to take off one item of clothing or more. If you’re being seen for your shoulder for example, you may need to remove your top. Women may wear a bra, bralet, sports bra with or without a stringy vest top. Men may be shirtless.
If you’re being seen for your back/hip/knee, you may wish to bring a pair of shorts with you. Preferably, a loose one that can roll up and enable us to assess things like muscle bulk on your thighs.
Be prepared to move the joint in question a bit as it’s important for me to see how well your joints and muscles can move and how they respond to various activities. Don’t worry though, I will bear in mind the severity of your pain. I will ask you to do certain movement like bending forwards/backwards/sideways and moving your hip in different directions. The idea is to try and reproduce your pain in a controlled way so that I can establish what structures might be involved.
The initial assessment and treatment may last 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT AT HOME (IF ELDERLY)
I also treat elderly patients at home who are unable to get to the clinic for whatever reason. This service is relevant for patients with osteoarthritis, who have had falls or worried about falling, recent hip or knee replacement surgeries and might need to practise getting into and out of bed, on/off their chairs, up and down the stairs etc. You might also have poor balance or perhaps want to build your confidence up with mobility and general activities of daily living.
I can give specialist advice on mobility and transfer aids, the use of hoists, standing aids and any equipment such as toilet frames, bed levers, wheel chairs, stair/hand rails etc you might require to help you recover at home.
I work very closely with carers, GPs, social workers and any other staff looking after you to ensure you receive a holistic treatment.
Elderly patients will not need to take any items of clothing off but I may need to very briefly have a look at the joint in question, e.g. the knee.
Usually the initial assessment last around 60 – 90 minutes as some people might be slower moving around their house. Request on booking.
AT THE END OF THE VISIT
Finally, we will then have a chat through what I have found and will proceed with some hands-on treatment. I might give you some exercises to take away with you that are relevant to your symptoms. Exercises may be for flexibility, range of movement, stretches, strengthening or to reduce swelling.
Before you leave, we will discuss whether or not you will need to return and how often. You will also have an opportunity to ask as many questions as you want. I pride myself in ensuring my patients fully understand what’s going on and how we manage these further. All goals will be centred around your specific needs.
Follow up appointments are usually cheaper and shorter as we would have already established what’s going on.
ONLINE / VIRTUAL APPOINTMENTS
Please note that a virtual appointment will be similar but as we will be communicating via live video, there will be a few changes. I will only recommend this is you’re physically not able to come in due to being so far away.