13 Mar Wait a minute…. What does a physio actually do?
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In a world where we’re so spoilt for choice, the question I’ve heard more times than expected is “what does a physio do?”
Unfortunately through no fault other than my own, I’ve been walking around since graduating expecting that every person I come in contact will know exactly what a physiotherapist does, but this just isn’t the case.
To break it down for you, instead of telling you what a general physio does, I’m going to tell you what we, the physios at Stride do!
As physiotherapist’s you probably think we massage some injuries and then use exercise for others, partly true, but let’s elaborate!
As movement specialists we’re nerds when it comes to figuring out what’s doing what in your musculoskeletal (muscles, joints and bones) system. In the first appointment, figuring out the source of your pain is our primary goal! For some injuries that’s easy because you’ve injured the joint or muscle acutely (such as a hamstring tear or knee sprain). But for other injures, we may have to look either above or below the area of your pain to find the answer! For example, Did you know that knee pain can be caused by movement patterns around the hip? Or neck pain can be a result of a weak shoulder?
Once we know what’s causing your symptoms, we’re likely to go in and treat either under or overactive muscles, as well any stiff joints that may be contributing to the area of concern. Hopefully this gives you some symptomatic relief and from here you’ll be given some home exercises that will compliment our hands on treatment and be asked to come back in a few days to see how everything is progressing.
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There’s no hard or fast rule with how many times or how frequently you need to see a physiotherapist, but for acute injuries such as an ankle sprain, it may be in your best interest to see us every few days in the early part of your rehab so we can progress you quickly and get you back to doing the things you love! Unfortunately some injuries take longer than others and how often you return will really be determined by how much hands on treatment and education of new exercises you require.
We have a strong belief that exercise therapy (strengthening, stretching, moving!) should replace the hands on treatment you require as soon as possible, however the time in which this happens is completely individualised to the patient, their injury and their symptoms.
Once you’re back to doing the things you love, our goal is to keep you there! For some patients, we may recommend you continue your physiotherapy treatment even after your symptoms ease as a prevention to any future recurrences! This is common for patients who have weakness, stiffness or instability without the presence of pain!
One rule we also want to stick by is not telling you that you can’t do anything! A lot of patients have expressed to us their fear of being told by a physio that they can’t keep going to the gym or another activity that they may love! At Stride we work backwards from your end goal and focus on what you can do! Sure, we may have to reduce some of your activity while your symptoms settle, but I promise you we won’t tell you to do nothing!