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Why don’t Physios just physically assess me?



We always start our Physiotherapy assessments with at least 10-15 minutes of discussion & questioning about the problem before we physically assess you. You may wonder why we do this & be thinking, ‘when are they going to get on & start physically assessing me?’


With all outpatient Physiotherapy presentations, musculoskeletal or neurological, the clinical history is the most crucial aspect. As we listen to you telling us about why you have presented to Physiotherapy, most often, you will be telling us the cause of the problem & what is going on. As we discuss the onset of the problem, the progression or regression of symptoms, the pattern of pain, any previous problems or treatment, the character, location, intensity & behaviour of the pain, we are developing a hypothesis about what may or may not be going on.


We then use the physical assessment to confirm or refute these differential hypotheses. The ideal scenario is we locate the source of your pain symptoms, plus what may be contributing to the problem, so we can develop a firm treatment plan & start you on the road to recovery.


It is also essential that we find out about your medical history, general health & medication. This not only helps us to make a diagnosis, but also helps us to determine several things. The problem may be related to or influenced by a previous or current medical condition, or may be a result of the medication you are on. Your safety is also a key consideration, with some of our manual therapy techniques being contraindicated by certain medical conditions. For example, if you have osteoporosis in your spine, we wouldn’t mobilise or manipulate it.


Essentially, we are building a picture of what may or may not be happening, pulling information in from a variety of sources to hone in on a diagnosis & what we can potentially do about it.


So bear with us when we are talking to you at length about the problem you have, it helps us immeasurably in working out your problem & what to do about it.


For further advice, assessment & treatment, please contact us at Harbourside Physiotherapy.


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