Should I See a Physiotherapist For My Injury?
Updated October 2019
Throughout the last decade or two, the internet has increasingly impacted our access to information. When it comes to healthcare the internet can be a great tool for orienting ourselves. With so much information out there on musculoskeletal diagnostics and treatment options, you may be left wondering if it is better to go ahead and try these treatment options on your own, or to go to a physiotherapy clinic.
While the internet has wonderful resources and may be useful in developing your knowledge, it also has misleading information. When it comes to your healthcare, it is best if you are able to consult a professional in the particular field.
In the case of musculoskeletal injuries, for example, physiotherapists are the experts and can help you sort through the information you find on the internet.
Some advantages to seeing a physiotherapist include the opportunity for:
An individualized assessment to clearly identify WHAT your injury is (and why it started - if not from a specific incident)
A clearly defined treatment plan dependent on the stage of your injury
Receiving specific manual therapy techniques to speed your recovery
Ongoing monitoring and specific progressions for your program
Physiotherapy begins with a detailed assessment, as discussed in my What is Physiotherapy? blog. This is crucial before beginning a rehab program following an injury, as people can have different experiences with a similar injury or condition, as well as different reasons for developing an injury or condition. For example, following an ACL rupture, some clients present with immediate, severe swelling, pain, and instability, while others have little swelling, some pain, and no problems with stability. In the case of patellofemoral pain syndrome, one person may develop this condition due to tightness through their quadriceps, while for another it may be due to weakness in their hip stabilizer muscles. These are the details that can often only be addressed in person, by a professional.
Physios have a great deal of knowledge about specific tissue healing timelines. Your physio will know when you are ready for the next stages of rehab as well as when you may be over-doing it given your phase of healing and how the tissue is responding to treatment (e.g., increased swelling or heat in a joint). The physio team at Royal City Physio takes into account all factors that may be contributing to pain or dysfunction and strive to treat clients as a whole, rather than an isolated injury.
Manual physiotherapy is a common treatment approach used by physiotherapists. It relies on the concepts of arthokinematics, meaning the movement of joint surfaces. Joint mobilizations, for example, are used primarily to restore normal movement around a stiff joint. These precise movements are not possible to perform on yourself as they require specific positioning and external forces to achieve. If done incorrectly, there is a risk of tissue damage.
Seeing a physiotherapist offers an avenue for continued monitoring. Based on your history and presentation since the initial visit, your physio will evaluate when it is time to change exercises- whether that be making them easier, harder, or different. In addition to their training in the musculoskeletal system, physiotherapists have education in many other systems of the body. They can identity complications that may arise following an injury and can pick out red flags during their assessments, relaying that information to your family doctor if desired.
At Royal City Physio we look forward to becoming a part of your healthcare team.
Riley Bay began her undergraduate studies in Victoria and graduated with a degree in psychology. She then completed her Masters of Physical Therapy at the University of British Columbia. Riley has gained further training in manual therapy techniques including Mulligan's Mobilization with Movement and The McKenzie Method. Through a combination of individualized therapeutic exercise, hands on manual therapy, and education, Riley is passionate about working together with her patients to help facilitate their return to the sports and activities that are important to them.