A Q&A to help you better understand if Physiotherapy can help you, a family member or your client.
No question is out of the question! Here, let’s tackle some frequently asked and less frequently asked questions about Physiotherapy.
First up, let’s touch on the “who, what, when, where, why and how” that what we might think we are expected to know already about Physiotherapy:
There is no age limit as to who a Physiotherapist can work with – from babies to the elderly population, as well as involvement with their family, support network, medical and health professionals or any other person relevant to their care and goals, such as a teacher or work manager. Some Physios specialise in paediatrics, adults, or aged care whilst others see a mix of ages.
(To seek NDIS funded physiotherapy, the person must meet the NDIS criteria here.
Physiotherapists are experts in the structure of the human body and its movement… as well as listening. They are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, planning and management of a broad range of musculoskeletal, chronic health and medical conditions (from back pain to neurological conditions to diabetes and much more).
The sooner the better! Physiotherapists believe that prevention is better than cure, but it is never too late to seek out Physio to assess you and help you achieve your goals.
Anywhere! A physiotherapist can see you at your home, school, work, a coffee shop, park or in the clinic, or on the phone or other telehealth.
Physiotherapists play an important role in many people’s diagnosis, rehabilitation, goal setting and most of all, in optimising the person’s quality of life.
There are no prerequisites to see a Physio, you don’t need “a referral” from a doctor. You can self-refer, or a support coordinator can help.
Ok, so now for the (no) silly questions! Here are some questions that you might be wondering about Physiotherapy…
- I need some assistive technology (a new wheelchair/ bed/ walker) so I need an OT to prescribe this, right?
Assistive technologies (AT) are physical supports that help you do something more easily or safely, or do something you otherwise cannot do because of your disability. Physiotherapists are trained to assess for and prescribe AT, whether through NDIS funding or self-funded, such walking aids, wheelchairs, special aids, beds, chairs and more.
- I am in too much pain/not fit enough for Physio.
Physiotherapists conduct gentle and appropriately paced assessments to help you improve your movement and function. Sometimes, this might start with advice and education, if your pain or mobility issues are very severe. Other times we start with gentle activity and build up slowly. It all depends on you.
- Physios need to touch people, so Telehealth won’t help right?
While Physios do touch people during our assessments, a lot of the time we can still conduct an assessment without touching someone, as 80% of our assessment is done through observation. We can identify movement/function problems and create a treatment plan for a client through observation and information gathering. In the world of telehealth, observation of a client and information gathering can be easily done over a video call as long as each party has a stable internet connection and mobile device with a video calling function. Once the physio gathers all the relevant information, instructions will be given to the client on where to place the camera such that we get a good view of the client’s whole body or the body part we want to assess. We could carry out objective tests by either instructing the client how to perform certain tests, or if there’s a support worker or family member with him/her in the house, we can instruct the support worker to carry out the tests i.e. using the carer as our “hands”. We are able to gain useful information from these objective tests and develop an appropriate treatment plan for the client without being physically present in the same space.
- Will I get massage, or hydrotherapy with a Physio?
Physiotherapists provide therapy to help a person achieve their goals. In some cases, to achieve their goals they may require massage, or teaching a carer/ the person how to self-massage. In some cases, they may benefit from hydrotherapy. Physiotherapists use a wide range of treatment modalities to help people achieve their goals, and yes, sometimes this includes massage and hydrotherapy!
- Do physios treat … “x” condition?
Physiotherapists can help people with a wide range of conditions. We work on treating the individual rather than the condition. This is because almost all conditions have the same types of impairment, e.g. weak muscles, poor balance, poor mobility, reduced range etc. which causes someone to have reduced function. By working on these impairments through a therapy plan, we help the client improve their function and hence achieve their goals. So the short answer is, yes, we can treat “x” condition.
There are plenty more “silly” questions where these came from,
so please feel free to watch our webinar here to find out more.