I’m in pain, who should I see?
Whether it’s pain management and rehabilitation from an acute injury like a sprained ankle, or management of chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, a physiotherapist can help. Physiotherapy is not limited to rehabilitation of injuries and the effects of disease or disability. A physiotherapist also provides education and advice for health promotion, disease and injury prevention.(CPA)
The majority of people who are considering a musculoskeletal (orthopaedic) physiotherapy consultation do so because they are in pain. Pain affects the way you move, and the way you move will affect your pain, so it becomes a vicious cycle.
To effectively deal with the causes of your pain, it is essential that a detailed musculoskeletal examination is performed. This often includes an anatomical assessment, to determine the extent of any tissue damage that may be causing the pain. If you recently sprained your knee or ankle, it may be easy to determine the cause and extent of the injury.However, if your pain has existed for a longer period of time (weeks or months), it will also be necessary to perform a functional evaluation of your movement.
The functional evaluation (movement evaluation) is an area that many physiotherapists have specialized training in. This is very important to perform in the cases of long term low back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain,and neck pain.
The low back may be persistent because of stiffness (decreased mobility) in your hips or upper back (thoracic spine). Chronic (long term) knee pain can often be related to weakness in some of the hip muscles. Unless these muscles are strengthened, the pain may continue to be a problem.
A question many people in pain ask is: “Should I see a physiotherapist, massage therapist, a physician, or an osteopath?”
Seeking a solution to your pain is important. Regardless of who you see, it will be important that you understand what needs to be done. How severe is the tissue injury? Will you require surgery for a torn ligament or tendon? If the tissue injury is not severe, what needs to be done to help the area heal? Do you need to improve you mobility (flexibility and/or range of motion), your stability/motor control, or your strength? The treatment you receive should be focused on addressing the key contributing factors of your pain. If the treatment provided is for mobility (manipulation, mobilization, massage, etc), but you require stability/motor control and strength to correct the issue that is causing you pain, the problem will probably be persistent or recurrent.
Make sure you choose a trusted health care provider who is able to assess the extent of the tissue damage, your mobility, stability, motor control, and strength. This will allow them to design an appropriate treatment plan to help you.
The biggest mistake people often make is to wait,and see.The longer the problem exists, the more complicated it often becomes. If you aren’t satisfied with previous answers or treatment, seek a second opinion.