What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy (or physio) itself is one of the oldest medical professions and is a recognised as an important way of maintaining good flexibility, mobility and also a way of alleviating pain and building up strength lost due to injury or illness, or everyday joint and muscle problems.
Physiotherapists are experienced, medically trained professionals who are experts in their field and it is their job to know the mechanism of the body’s muscles, nerves and joints and how they function together in order for you to move freely and comfortably. Many people are advised or choose to undertake a course of physiotherapy following illness, surgery or if they have prolonged joint pain. It is also a tried and tested method of improving flexibility after suffering a stroke or other neurological disorder. Additionally, physiotherapy greatly aids those suffering from many other illnesses such as arthritis, RSI (repetitive strain injury), development delay, respiratory conditions, heart problems and cancer to name a few. As well as relieving pain and minimising trauma, physio aids in the body’s healing process which is why in injury or illness it is a popular choice for rehabilitation.
Your physiotherapist will use a selection of methods to treat your problem from hands-on skills to discussing lifestyle changes where necessary and look at the longer term by suggesting exercise programmes which will help you in dealing with keeping persistent pain at bay. Physiotherapists tend to work hand in hand with other specialists to aid in your recuperation and may well refer you to another consultant to work in conjunction with them or vice versa.
When Would I Need to Visit a Physiotherapist?
There are many reasons why you might be referred to a physiotherapist, or even decide to self-refer. The following list will give you an idea as to when a physiotherapist may be able to help with your joint, nerve or muscle pain or improving strength:
- When you experience prolonged muscular, joint or nerve pain
- Following an injury such as sporting, caused during physical exercise or a work trauma or after a vehicle accident
- If you are experiencing severe bruising, large or prolonged swelling, stiffness
- If you have a deformity
- If you experience regular numbness of joints, muscles or nerves or feelings of pins and needles
- If you experience incontinence
- If you are experiencing balance problems or falling sensations
- Should your muscles show signs of weakness
- If you feel as if your joints are giving way
- Should you be experiencing pain following giving birth
- To improve your performance in sport
- To gain optimum fitness and flexibility
- To improve your general strength, in sport or otherwise
If any of the above applies to you, do seek advice from your nearest Active Physiotherapy clinic, it is better to seek help from a medical profession rather than ignore symptoms.
How long is a Physiotherapist appointment and how many sessions will be required?
Initially, you should allow an hour and a half for your first consultation as our Physiotherapist will need to take a full assessment of your problems or needs and decide how to treat you. Your first treatment should take place at your initial consultation and following this, your further appointments will be shorter – however, this is only a general rule, appointment time will depend on your condition and how it is going to be treated.
Following your initial meeting, your Physiotherapist will give you a more definite answer as to how many appointments you will need in order to bring you back to optimum health. You will possibly be asked to undertake some further exercise or stretching at home too coupled with other therapies – all will aid in your recovery.
How do I make my Physiotherapy appointment and will I be seen quickly?
Appointments are normally scheduled within 3 days maximum, however, if you have an emergency we will endeavour to see you as soon as possible, urgent treatment will normally be dealt with through a next day appointment. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.
Will I need a referral from my doctor for Physiotherapy?
You do not need a referral from your doctor for physiotherapy however if you are intending to claim for treatment for a work related injury, following a vehicle collision or if you are seeking treatment under the Medicare EPC scheme then you will need a doctor’s referral letter. *
We do recommend that if you are intending to use private medical insurance to cover treatment, you check with them first whether or not they will need a GP referral letter.
* Veteran Affairs patients will need a doctor’s referral once a year to undertake physiotherapy treatment.
Can I claim using my private health insurance for Physiotherapy treatment?
Yes, you are able to do so if you have what is known as ancillary cover (cover for up to 5 different treatments such as Physiotherapy, Podiatry and so on). Check with your insurers but you should be able to claim a rebate on Physiotherapy including any classes or groups that you attend run by our Physiotherapists. There are obviously variations between each individual’s policies so we urge you to check what you are covered for first if you are unsure.
Is Physiotherapy covered by Medicare?
Yes. Dependent on circumstance, Medicare will refund $50.95 for 5 physiotherapy sessions annually as detailed through the Enhanced Primary Care Initiative. However, do note that this treatment is for those with prolonged or complicated medical conditions and you must be referred by your doctor as not everyone is suitable.
What should I expect during my Physiotherapy appointment?
You will be asked to describe your symptoms so the Physiotherapist understands what is causing you pain or what your needs are (e.g., if you want to improve your sporting performance). Your Physiotherapist will take notes about your medical history and your lifestyle and what you want to achieve from your sessions. You will then be assessed for your muscular, joint and nerve strength and mobility as well as other small tests to understand how your pain is inhibiting your body’s ability to function normally. As a suggestion, come in suitable clothes as you may need to get undressed to present the area of concern.
Following this assessment, your Physiotherapist will be able to diagnose the problem and work out a course of action for treating you – your first session of treatment may even happen at your initial assessment. You will be consulted every step of the way so that you are able to agree steps to be taken such as exercises, manual stimulation and other therapies to aid recovery. Your Physiotherapist will also discuss with you how to manage your issue and how to avoid it happening again, with careful guidance. As well as your Physiotherapist giving you an idea as to how many appointments you will need for treatment to be effective, your progress will be periodically monitored to ensure its success.
What should I bring with me to my Physiotherapy appointment?
If you have any relevant scans or medical documentation such as letters from your doctor, do bring these with you and as suggested previously, wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing (e.g., tracksuit), you should be able to move around freely and it is helpful to your therapist if they can gain easy access to the areas of concern. If it is a sporting injury or if you are striving to achieve optimum fitness, we suggest you bring your trainers or playing boots as these are sometimes the cause of injury or inhibiting performance. At Active Physiotherapy we provide you with a gown, shorts and towel if you require these, for your comfort and modesty.
If you or your child is under 16 and a patient, please be accompanied by your parent/guardian, thank you.
Can I park my car at Active Physiotherapy?
Yes, for your complete convenience our Mount Waverley practice on Waverley Road has a large car-park which has space for up to 20 cars. It is situated at the front of our practice and we also have excellent wheelchair access. Please enter the car park from Meadow Crescent. Our other locations also have plenty of free parking available.