If you’re recovering from an injury, experiencing aches and pains, or having trouble with movement and mobility throughout the body, there are several types of practitioners who may be able to help you.
Physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths all take a slightly different approach to treatment, so it can be difficult to know which one might be right for you.
Before seeking treatment, talk to your GP about the issue you’re experiencing. They can advise you on which type of treatment might be most helpful, and provide more information to guide you in the right direction.
Keep in mind that chiropractic and osteopathy are considered complementary or alternative medicine, and some critics point to a lack of scientific evidence. However, they may still be beneficial for you, so discuss your options with your doctor.
If you do decide to visit a physio, chiro or osteo, you will be asked for a detailed medical history on your first appointment. Here’s what else you can expect.
Physiotherapy is focused on movement and function, often following injury or surgery, or when dealing with a physical disability. A physio uses massage, exercise, stretching and hands-on manipulation to treat pain or dysfunction and to improve your mobility and flexibility.
According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association, a physio may be able to help you with:
- Muscle and joint stiffness or pain
- Recovery from an injury or operation
- Neurological disorders
- Supporting the aging process
- Occupational safety issues in your workplace
What to expect on your first visit
If you have any x-rays or scans relevant to your visit, bring these along. A physio probably won’t ask you to change into a gown, but wearing loose-fitting clothing will help.
Physios use a strong massage technique and you’re likely to feel at least a little pain during a session, especially if your muscles are tight. This pain might extend to the next day or two, but should disappear after that.
You’ll get ‘homework’ in the form of stretching or light exercises when you see a physio – and you’ll find results are much improved if you actually do them!