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What to Expect in Physiotherapy

What to Expect in Physiotherapy

Physical therapy or physiotherapy helps restore muscle movement or function for people affected by injury, illness, or disability. If it’s your first time attending physiotherapy, you may be wondering what goes on.

Learn more about what to expect in physiotherapy from this article.

Interview and Assessment

During your first appointment, you will likely receive an initial interview and assessment. This is so your physical therapist knows your medical history.

They will ask you questions about your condition to make an assessment. They may also conduct several physical tests to accurately diagnose your condition.

These physical tests will help assess your range of motion, strength, sensation and reflexes, and joint stability. Your physical therapist may also conduct nerve tests and palpation to determine which body parts of yours are tender to the touch.

Treatment Plan

Once your therapist is done with their assessment, they will walk you through a treatment plan that sets goals for you to go fulfill. This is different for everyone and will focus on your needs.

Your treatment plan will determine the kind of exercises you need as well as any assistive devices or fitness equipment you may require. Your therapist will walk you through every step of this plan.

Specific Exercises

Once your treatment plan is determined, you will be assisted in conducting specific exercises. These exercises vary depending on what kind of injury or symptoms you have.

Typically, they involve muscle strengthening exercises and stretching, posture and balance training, and movement pattern training. Your therapist may also give you a gym referral if you need it.

Doing your physical training may be tough at first, but your therapist will be there to give you support and advice every step of the way just like a personal trainer.


Some treatment plans also involve activities outside of physical exercises. This will not be true for all cases, but many physiotherapists will recommend or conduct acupuncture or functional dry needling as part of your treatment. 

This kind of treatment involves inserting fine, single-use needles into acupuncture points in your body. Acupuncture is known to relieve pain and inflammation.

Manual Therapy

Another thing you can expect from physiotherapy is manual therapy or massage therapy. This is the part where your physical therapist uses soft tissue techniques to relieve pain or inflammation in affected areas of your body. 

If you have joint or spinal issues, specific techniques like joint mobilization or spinal manipulation may be used. However, these are advanced techniques that only licensed therapists should be conducting.

Use of Heat and Electrophysical Agents

A large part of physiotherapy may also involve the use of heat and electrophysical agents. You can probably expect the use of hot and cold packs to help relieve inflammation.

Electrophysical agents such as therapeutic ultrasound or interferential current may be used to help penetrate deeper into affected areas of your body.

More Resources

Physical therapy is a part of health care that restores a person’s mobility and function. You can expect a bit of an arduous journey, but in the end, successful physiotherapy will only benefit you. 

If you need more medical advice, check out the articles below: