Frequently Asked Questions

  •  What is Physiotherapy?
  •  When should i see a Physiotherapist?
  •  How can physiotherapy help my injury?
  •  Which physiotherapy clinic should i go to for treatment?
  •  What is pilates?
  •  What is hydrotherapy?
  •  When should i use ice?
  •  How do i use ice?
  •  When should i use heat?
  •  How do i use heat?
  •  When is an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, bone scan or other investigation appropriate for my injury?
  •  Is it better to tape my ankle or use a brace when I am returning to sport following an ankle sprain?
  •  How long should i spend warming up before sport and what is the best way to do this?
  •  My injury causes pain when i play sport, but i can play through it. Usually the warmer i get the less painful it becomes. However after when i rest, it is sometimes sorer. Should i keep playing through this pain or is it better to stop?
    Why do i get cramps and how can i prevent them?

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a therapeutic health profession that assists people with injuries, pain, stiffness, weakness, and other movement problems. Physiotherapists are university trained and are experts in injury diagnosis, injury treatment, exercise prescription, injury prevention, rehabilitation and many other areas of sport and musculoskeletal health and fitness. Physiotherapists also have the expertise to assess the underlying causes of musculoskeletal injuries and provide effective, evidence based treatment so you can resume your normal lifestyle as soon as possible with the least likelihood of recurrence. Physiotherapists educate patients and teach them the skills required to take care of their bodies using various tools and methods.

Following injury, physiotherapists use a variety of treatment techniques to hasten the body’s natural healing process and speed recovery. These treatment techniques may include:

  •  massage
  •  mobilization
  •  manipulation
  •  exercise prescription
  •  stretches
  •  electrotherapy
  •  hydrotherapy
  •  clinical Pilates
  •  taping
  •  bracing
  •  dry needling
  •  ice or heat therapy
  •  advice and education

The techniques used for each individual are carefully selected by the treating physiotherapist based on research demonstrating maximum benefit for their particular condition.

Aside from dealing with musculoskeletal and sports conditions, physiotherapy is also vital to ensure an optimal outcome in patients suffering from conditions in the following medical areas:

  •  neurological
  •  cardiothoracic
  •  paediatrics
  •  obstetrics

Usually you do not need a doctor’s referral to see a physiotherapist, unless you wish to be claiming the injury through insurance as a workplace injury or motor vehicle accident.

When should I see a physiotherapist?

There are many instances when it is appropriate and beneficial to consult a physiotherapist. Some of these include:

  •  If you have sustained an injury
  •  If you have swelling, bruising or deformity of a body part
  •  If you are experiencing joint stiffness, pain or ache (particularly if your symptoms have persisted for greater than 3 days)
  •  If you are limping or protecting a limb due to pain
  •  If you are experiencing pins and needles or numbness
  •  If your limbs collapse or give way occasionally
  •  If you have postural problems
  •  If you need advice on improving strength, flexibility, balance or fitness
  •  If you need advice on injury prevention or other aspects of musculoskeletal health
  •  If you require treatment for an injury
  •  If you wish to improve your physical performance for sport
  •  If you are planning a return to sport or activity following a prolonged period of inactivity

As a general rule, if you are unsure, it is always better to consult a professional rather than not seek advice.

How can physiotherapy help my injury?

Physiotherapy can ensure your injury is thoroughly assessed and diagnosed correctly. This is essential to ensure the correct treatment techniques are chosen for your condition. Physiotherapy treatment can hasten your body’s natural healing process, accelerating your return to sport or activity. Appropriate treatment will also reduce the likelihood of recurrence by addressing factors which may have contributed to the development of your condition. Physiotherapists are experts in advising patients on which activities are appropriate for their injury to maximize recovery and ensure an optimal outcome.

Which physiotherapy clinic should I go to for treatment?

Choosing the right physiotherapy clinic for treatment can be difficult. Whilst all physiotherapists are university trained and qualified, it is important to select a physiotherapist who is trusted, knowledgeable and friendly and can provide the best quality treatment for your injury. When it comes to choosing a physiotherapist there are no hard and fast rules, but some things worth considering include:

  •  How long has the physiotherapist been qualified for?
  •  Is the physiotherapist a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association?
  •  Does the physiotherapist have a particular area of expertise?
  •  Does the physiotherapist have post-graduate qualifications such as a PHD or Masters?
  •  Does the clinic have a multidisciplinary team of professionals i.e. are there services for
  •  podiatry, massage, clinical Pilates, hydrotherapy, exercise physiology, sports medicine,
  •  psychology, personal training, myotherapy etc.?
  •  Have you seen the physiotherapist before and did you achieve a good outcome?
  •  Have your friends or family had a good experience from that physiotherapist or clinic before?
  •  If you are already seeing a physiotherapist, is your condition getting better and staying better?

Some additional information which may assist you in making your decision may include:

  •  How long is an initial consultation?
  •  How long is a follow-up consultation?
  •  What is the cost for an initial consultation and follow-up consultations?
  •  Are there any discounts for concession?
  •  Am I able to claim on private health insurance?
  •  Are there HICAPS facilities?

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing. The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century in Germany. These days, Clinical Pilates is often used in conjunction with physiotherapy as a means of treating a variety of injuries, particularly those of the neck and back. This is based on literature that demonstrates strong evidence to support the use of therapeutic exercise in the management of patients with injuries, particularly low back pain. Recent research advocates the retraining of the deep stabilizing muscles for patients with low back pain. Clinical Pilates focuses on the retraining and recruitment of these stabilizing muscles (core stability) as well as improving posture, strength and flexibility.

Although Pilates can be extremely beneficial for patients with certain injuries it needs to be specific to the individual and not used as a generic tool for everyone. Clinical Pilates (as distinct to generic Pilates classes) identifies this key issue by applying carefully selected exercises to patients with specific injuries. This ensures optimal gains whilst minimizing the likelihood of injury aggravation. If you are interested in commencing Pilates for your injury, it is essential to have a review with a physiotherapist to assess the suitability of a core stability program for you.

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a form of exercise that is undertaken in water, providing numerous health benefits for people of all ages. Hydrotherapy is particularly useful for patients who suffer from osteoarthritis or other injuries that are easily aggravated with weight bearing forces. These benefits are largely due to the buoyancy of the water which helps to reduce the weight bearing impact on bones, muscles and joints. As a result, patients are able to keep active and perform exercises to improve their strength, flexibility, balance, fitness and general mobility, in an environment that is low impact. This reduces the likelihood of injury aggravation whilst maximizing healing and function. Following injury, patients participating in an appropriate hydrotherapy program are usually able to return to activity or sport faster than those who don’t.

When should I use ice?

Ice treatment should always be used during the inflammatory phase of an injury. This occurs in the first 72 hours following injury or injury aggravation.