What Should You Expect at Your First Physiotherapy Appointment?

Physiotherapists treat a variety of conditions, including sport-related, “weekend warrior,” surgical repairs, workplace and/or chronic injuries. They may also specialize in certain conditions, such as vestibular therapy, jaw pain, headaches, and/or pelvic health therapy.

The initial assessment will involve a discussion with your therapist about your medical history, including medical conditions, medications, and allergies. They use questions to identify any potential need for referral back to your medical doctor. They will ask about your current complaints, history of injuries, work, activities and goals for therapy.

The next step is a physical assessment. This may include movement of the involved body part(s), strength testing, assessing your nerve function, and any sport or work-related tasks that are relevant to you.

Once the therapist has developed a diagnosis, they will educate you about what is happening, what is causing your dysfunction and why. They will then determine a rehabilitation plan with you. This may include exercise, adapting your activities or postural habits, manual therapy (soft tissue/muscle release techniques, stretching, joint movement, etc.) or dry needling. They will often offer you a “feel good” modality such as heat or IFC/TENS (gentle electrical current) after the session. Your therapist will always ask you for consent before proceeding with a new type of treatment.

Written by Becky Kukowski