Every injury situation is unique.
In the event of an injury, your physiotherapist may be one of your best bets for recovering to full function as soon as possible.
Depending on the severity of your injury, your physiotherapist will recommend a specific timeline for when you can resume physical activity. You should try to stick to this timeline to avoid further injuring your injured area.
Today we will dive deeper into the idea of how often you should have physiotherapy.
When Should You Start Physiotherapy?
While there are many reasons to book an appointment with your physiotherapist, the most common reason to see a physiotherapist is to address pain and inflammation you may be feeling right now.
Injury or damage to your muscles, tissues, or joints can cause inflammation. When this occurs, your body’s normal healing processes are thrown out of balance, which can further damage your tissues.
If you have pain or inflammation after an injury, you should see a physiotherapist to help you get back into balance.
Here are some other signs that may indicate you should book an appointment with a physiotherapist.
- You’ve been playing sports for a while, but recently you felt a twinge in a specific area of your body.
- You’ve been experiencing some pain, stiffness, or restriction in your joints.
- You’re experiencing a rapid increase in pain or inflammation after an activity.
- You’re unable to engage in normal activities, such as running, lifting weights, or climbing stairs.
- You’ve been experiencing pain or stiffness in your back, neck, or hamstring area.
How Often Should You Get Physiotherapy?
Depending on the nature of your injury, the treatment process, and your individual response to therapy, your physiotherapist may recommend that you have therapy as often as four times per week.
However, most people can comfortably get by with seeing their physiotherapist three times per week.
The takeaway here is that your therapist will recommend a schedule that’s best for your individual needs which can range between 2-3 times per week, often tapering down to 1-2 times per week as treatment advances.
How Long Should a Physiotherapy Session Be?
Typically, physiotherapy sessions are 30 to 40 minutes. However, this varies from person to person and clinic to clinic, and depends on the specific needs of your injured area.
You should expect to leave your physiotherapy session with a plan for how you’ll implement what you’ve been taught. This may include self-massage techniques to help you recover faster, home exercise programs, or a schedule for how to incorporate the techniques into your regular workout routine.
It’s best to book a physiotherapy session early, as sessions tend to fill up quickly.
Do Physiotherapist Techniques Work?
Besides being able to properly identify the signs and symptoms of various injuries, physiotherapists are trained to use a variety of techniques to help their patients get faster, stronger, and move their bodies in new ways.
Many of these techniques have been shown to work through rigorous scientific research.
While physiotherapy doesn’t cure injuries, it can help speed up the recovery process and get you back to doing the things you love.
Here are some of the techniques that physiotherapists use.
- Exercise prescription—This is the process of determining what exercises will help your body recover faster, based on your individual needs. Your physiotherapist will take into account your current level of fitness, your injury, and the exercises you’re able to perform.
- Stretching and foam rolling—Stretching is important after any activity that causes you to overexert your muscles. It helps to prevent injury by preparing your muscles and tissues for increased activity.
- Range of motion—This is the measure of how much you can move your different joints in all directions. Your physiotherapist will evaluate how much movement you have in each joint and, based on this, recommend ways to improve range of motion.
- Heat and ice—Heating and cooling your muscles may sound like a traditional Chinese medicine remedy, but it’s actually a physiotherapy technique. By applying heat to your muscles and then soothing them with ice, your therapist can promote blood flow to your muscles and increase their flexibility.
Tips for Successful Physiotherapy Sessions
While physiotherapy can help speed up the recovery process and get you back to doing the things you love, you need to put in the work too. Here are some tips to help make each physiotherapy session more effective.
- Listen to your body—If you’re in any pain, you should stop the physiotherapy session immediately. Your body is telling you that something is wrong and you need to take a break.
- Take your medications—Even if you’re feeling better, you should still take your pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. This will allow you to get the most out of your physical therapy sessions.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions—If you don’t understand something during your physiotherapy session or feel like you need more explanation, don’t be afraid to ask your physiotherapist questions. They’re there to help you get better, not to make you feel bad for asking questions.
What Goes Into a Regular Physiotherapy Session?
When you see your physiotherapist, you’ll likely begin your session with some general health screening. This may include a physical exam of your muscles and joints, a neurological exam of your muscles and nervous system.
Once your health is assessed, your physiotherapist will discuss your injury or ailments and how they plan to help you get back to normal.