What does a physiotherapist do?

The definition given by the CSP(chartered society of physiotherapy)is: Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle.

Nowadays there is still the common thought that physiotherapy=massage,the definition above clarifies that a physiotherapist is not meant to do a massage therapy only. Even though it is a skill that physiotherapist can use during the session in conjunction with a wide range of other techniques.

How to understand what you need:

Physiotherapy:  

  • Presence of a body pain
  • Every time that you have a loss of functionality with or without pain(e.g. difficulty to move you neck towards one side, to bend or extend your knee, stand up from a chair easily, move up your shoulder etc.)
  • Sprains, minor trauma, presence of swelling/redness in a joint
  • Presence of neurological signs(that don’t require immediate medical intervention) such as tingling, numbness, pins and needles, loss of  strength or alteration in the sensitivity, burning/electrical pain. Your physio will have the knowledge to understand if you need a referral or if it can help you.
  • After a Fracture, immobilisation with a plaster cast/boot, Surgery, to advice and help you to regain a full functionality
  • After a Sport Injury to get fully back to your previous sport activity
  • Increase you sport performance

Physiotherapy can also have a preventive role, depending on your characteristic, physiotherapist in collaboration with your personal trainer can develop an exercise therapy program to improve your strength and muscle mass. Several researches have demonstrated a high correlation between a good health, a good aging, a preventive effect, a good outcome for several conditions and having a good muscle mass and strength.

Massage:

  • General muscles tension
  • Attending a lot of sport sessions
  • Need of general relaxation
  • Stiffness in a particular body area
  • Need of a massage therapy

For more informations about the massage consult dedicated page.

How many sessions do I need?

In the last years science states that the treatment should include the Biopsychosocial model, hence consider not only the biomechanics in the pain but consider as well the social environment and the psychological word of the person.

Also to answer we need to consider few things:

  • How long has been present the problem?Is it the first time that you have problem in that area?

Usually a condition present from more than 3 months and/or is a recurrent problem will take longer than one present from less than 3 months and/or is the first time that happen.

  •  Are present any neurological signs?

If are present neurological signs such as pins ans needles, weakness etc. (for example a real sciatica), will take longer to resolve compared with a muscular/mechanical isolated issue.

  • Are present any psychological factors?

The presence of anxiety, depression, any dysregulation in the autonomic nervous system can require a longer period of time to address all the items influencing the pain.

  • Are you coming to resolve a pain or for a Rehabilitation?

If you had for example an hip replacement or a fracture with related surgery and you are coming to get help in your rehabilitation,it will takes likely longer that to get relief from a pain.

In general we can say that a simple mechanical/muscular problem(e.g. I woke up and I can’t turn well my neck towards the right)problem won’t take longer that 1-3 sessions. Any condition anyway needs to be well evaluated in order to give a possible prognosis.     At the first appointment your clinician will discuss with you his findings and how to better proceed to get the best for you. If you are still unsure fill the form and ask for a free advice.

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