Below are a few frequently asked questions that we often get asked by patients.
Q: How soon after my injury should I consult a Physiotherapist.
A: Often the sooner the better! Even if your injury is less than 24 hours old your Physiotherapist will be able to assess your injury, refer you onwards to a G.P or for an X ray if need be, give you guidelines about how to treat your injury and the expected time frames until you’ll be back to your best! The sooner you can start doing the right things to either unload or correctly load the damaged tissue the quicker you will recover and this is exactly what your Physio knows how to do best.
Q: Should I apply a hot pack or ice to my injury?
A: This all depends on how old your injury is. If your injury is less than 72 hours old, aching and swollen it is likely you are still in what we call the “inflammatory stage”. This is where ice treatment is the most useful as part of the R.I.C.E regime.
R.I.C.E: stands for “Rest”, “Ice”, “Compression” and “Elevation” and is key for correctly treating an injury that is inflamed to reduce tissue damage, swelling and pain and hasten recovery.
You will want to apply ice to the injured area for approximately 10- 20 minutes every 2 hours after your injury. Crushed ice, or a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a damp towel can work brilliantly. Please note that if you are sensitive to cold or have circulatory problems you should be careful of ice treatment.
Heat is good for treating more chronic injuries or injuries older than 72 hours (after the inflammatory phase.) It is particularly good relaxing muscles, increasing blood flow and easing muscle pain. Again if you are applying heat make sure you are careful that your heat pack is not too hot particularly if you do have decreased sensation.
Q: Do I need to consult a doctor to get a referral before I see a Physio?
A: You don’t need a referral to see a Physio and can consult a Physio immediately after an injury. Your Physiotherapist is a primary healthcare provider and is able to assess and treat you for any musculoskeletal issue. If we feel your injury is not of a musculoskeletal nature, you require a specialist consult, or you may need more medical advice or pain medication we will refer your onwards to your G.P. A Physiotherapist can also complete a medical certificate for time off work as long as the injury is related to a Physiotherapist’s scope of practice, however your employer may still ask for a doctor signed medical certificate.
Q: Can a Physio send me for an X ray? Ultrasounds or MRI?
A: If your Physiotherapist suspects a fracture or your injury warrants further investigations they can refer you directly for an X ray, Ultrasound or MRI scan.
Spinal and Hip X rays are fully covered by Medicare, all other X rays are only partially funded and Ultrasounds and MRI scans are at a private cost unless you are referred by a doctor.
Q: Can a Physiotherapist write out a medical certificate for time of work?
A: A Physiotherapist can also complete a medical certificate for time off work as long as the injury is related to a Physiotherapist’s scope of practice, however your employer may still ask for a doctor signed medical certificate.
Q: Should I see a Physio or some other practitioner or therapist?
A: Physiotherapists are specialists at treating musculoskeletal injuries and getting people moving again to enjoy life. To be a registered Physiotherapist in Australia you must have first completed a four university degree which is often highly competitive for entry. Once registered Physiotherapists must continue professional development and adhere to the latest medical and clinical evidence based practice methods. As a patient this means we are dedicated to adhering to the most up to date treatment methods that is medically backed to help you with your rehabilitation.
Q: How many treatments am I likely to need?
A: This all depends on the extent and nature of your injury, your Physiotherapist will however be able to educate you to give you an idea about how many treatments maybe required and how long your injury will take to recover completely after completing an initial assessment. If improvements are not being made they will refer you onwards for further investigation, a specialists consult or a second opinion.
Q: Can I use my health insurance for the Pilates classes
A: Many health insurance company’s will accept Pilates classes as part of their “group treatment” item numbers if you have Extras cover that includes Physiotherapy. It may be best to consult your health fund to find out the exact details.
Q: What products are available?
A: We have a range of products for sale at our Burleigh Heads Practice and can fit and if we don’t have what you are after we can order you in any product or brace you might require at either our Broadbeach Practice or our Burleigh Heads Practice. We also have crutches and moonboots for hire.
Q: When is pain a good or bad thing, is ” no pain no gain” the way to go?
A: Pain is the body’s way of telling us that somethings just not quite right so ignoring it isn’t often the best thing to do. If it hurts to hop it’s probably not a good idea to try and run! At times your physiotherapist will get you to do a stretch or strengthening exercise that may reproduce some pain but as long as this doesn’t increase or you don’t get worse then you are fine to continue them. This is often the difference between a “strain” and true “pain”. A “strain” is sometimes required to stimulate the body so changes can occur for improvement. Doing nothing at all for your injury means your body will not adapt and change and therefore you won’t improve. If at any times you are concerned about your pain or “strain” then please feel free to call and consult your Physiotherapist.
Q: What are the benefits of Ultrasound (US)
A:Therapeutic ultrasound is a treatment modality that uses ultrasonic waves (sound waves of a high frequency) to cause vibration of the surrounding tissues. This increased vibration leads to the production of heat within the tissue. In most cases this cannot be felt by the patient themselves. This increase in temperature may cause an increase in the extensibility of structures such as ligaments, tendons, scar tissue and fibrous joint capsules. In addition, heating may also help to reduce pain and muscle spasm and promote the healing process.
Burleigh Heads and Broadbeach Physiotherapy Centres, Gold Coast 07 5535 5218