Do I need to see a physiotherapist for my pain?

It can be easy for us to ignore our pain and postpone treating it, which often results in injuries and issues getting worse.

Your pain levels don’t have to be unmanageable to seek a physio. Most people seek physiotherapy for injury rehabilitation or an occupational issue, and the best way to manage it is to catch it early.

If you’re experiencing pain, especially musculoskeletal pain, you can go straight to a physiotherapist to diagnose and treat your injury. Find out some questions you should ask yourself to ascertain if you need to see a physio below.

Is it affecting your day-to-day life?

Your pain levels don’t need to be excruciating to see a physio. If your pain is affecting your everyday life, then a physiotherapist is likely the right choice. Physios won’t just help you to diagnose and alleviate your pain, they’ll also encourage overall better health and comfort for long-term happiness.

Physios can also help you deal with stress in many different aspects of your life. Usually, physiotherapists have specialties or key areas that they focus on and are most interested in. At Brecken Health, for example, our physiotherapists specialise in areas such as women’s health issues, e.g. pregnancy and postnatal recovery, and chronic pain management.

What is the nature of your pain?

Depending on where your pain is coming from and what it’s being caused by, a physio could be a great option. For more serious ailments, you might need to see a doctor first to diagnose the pain and ensure that it’s not related to something more serious.

Often, people seek physiotherapy for help with injury rehabilitation, including work injury rehabilitation, injury management, sciatica & low back pain treatment, as well as sports injuries. On the other side, physiotherapy can also be a great method of treatment for people with osteoarthritis, muscle spasms, and lymphoedema.

What are your goals?

Depending on the situation, you might be looking to relieve and reduce your pain, manage your existing pain levels, identify the source of your pain, or all of the above.

If you’re looking to identify the source of your pain, a doctor might be the most appropriate first port of call. This primarily applies if the pain is debilitating and you think it might be caused by something other than musculoskeletal issues. 

However, it is likely that the doctor will refer you to a physiotherapist anyway.

Some physios see patients who have been referred to them by a doctor, and these are called ‘secondary contact’ physiotherapists. Other physiotherapists see patients directly and these are called ‘primary contact’ or ‘first-line’ physiotherapists. Most of the time, seeing a physiotherapist first is the best approach to treating a musculoskeletal injury.

So, when is seeing a doctor first the right decision? If you have a serious injury and a bone might be broken, or you don’t think your injury is musculoskeletal, a doctor should be your first touchpoint.

In addition, if you have a workplace injury and/or your injury is related to some sort of insurance claim, you will usually need to see a doctor first to get a referral to ensure that you’re covered.

What’s involved in physio?

It’s a common misconception that physiotherapy is merely massage. While massage therapy is a central component of physiotherapy, physio is an integrated and holistic approach that also incorporates exercise, manipulation, manual therapy and other related treatments.

When you see a physiotherapist, you’ll have an in-depth session that looks at your long term goals and revises an injury management plan. At Brecken Health, we are first-line practitioners; however, we can also work with your doctor to ensure that you are receiving the best holistic treatment across the board.

Most people with pain can benefit from seeing a physiotherapist, and a physio can often help you to diagnose and treat your injury without having to see a doctor first.

If you need to see a physiotherapist and you’re in the Greater Bunbury area, get in touch with the Brecken team on (08) 9791 8133 or contact us here