Help the Physiotherapist help you

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...what the patient can do to gain the most from the therapy

On your first appointment with a physiotherapist you will be assessed. This can take up to one hour and involves a lot of questions and then a physical examination. The questions asked by the physiotherapist may be similar to those your doctor asks. The physiotherapist will have access to your medical notes but this is a way of checking that the information is up to date and correct.

Prepare a list of your medication and any past medical history. Try to be patient and answer questions clearly as possible. Do you know what you want from treatment?

During the first part of the assessment you are asked about your medication and past medical history. If this is difficult to remember it can be much quicker and easier to have already prepared a list to give to the therapist when they ask. It is important for the therapist to understand what your pain is like, what makes it worse and what helps it. This will give them an idea as to how it will respond to treatment. We know this can be difficult but be patient and try to answer their questions as clearly as you can. You will also be asked what you expect from treatment. This will help the physiotherapist tailor the treatment to your needs and discuss what they think is realistic to expect. If you have thought about this before you come, you will be clearer in your views when you are asked.

Be honest with your physiotherapist!

During treatment be sure to inform the physiotherapist about changes in your condition. If you don’t tell them you feel no different or you were sore after the last treatment, they won’t know!

Do the exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist

The exercises will be no help if you don’t do them. If you can’t do them or you are worried about them, admit this to the physiotherapist as there is usually another way.

Work with your physiotherapist

In PsA the best way to get the most from your physiotherapist is to work with them. You are the expert on your condition and how you feel. They have the skills and knowledge to help you get the most from your joints. Together you are more likely to achieve your goal.

Catherine Buckley
Specialist Rheumatology Physiotherapist

First published: 2000. Skin ‘n’ Bones Connection. Issue 13, p5.