As physiotherapists working with thousands of clients every week, we have seen it all in terms of the clothes our clients wear to appointments: from suits and ties to pyjamas, jeans, dresses and exercise gear.
For us, meeting, assessing and treating clients is what we do every day, and we know how it works. For you, it could be your first ever physio appointment, so, let’s explain what will happen and how best to prepare…
At the first appointment, you will spend a fair bit of time talking.
Our therapist will ask you questions about your injury, your goals and how your life is being affected. This first, and very important part of us working together, will take at least half, sometimes more, of our first appointment together.
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The reason for all the talking is to get a thorough understanding of how we can best help you and work together. It’s exactly like how your GP will firstly ask questions when you have an appointment with them.
Also during the first appointment, our therapist will want to do an objective or physical assessment of your injury.
That is, they will want to take a look ‘under the hood’ via assessment or examination. This will involve showing us the part of the body that is injured, moving your arms/legs/neck/other body parts to show us how it is affecting you.
There will possibly be some extra tests such as balance, strength and skin sensation testing too.
The last part of the initial appointment is likely to involve some treatment on your body. This could involve massage, stretching or taping. All of these treatments will need our therapist to use their hands on your skin.
So, to be best prepared for the examination and/or treatment, wearing clothes that take five minutes to take off and five minutes to put back on is not a good move!
How to dress and not digress!
Prior to your first physio appointment, we recommend you think through the pain points and restrictions you are encountering in your life.
At the appointment we will ask you when and where you are getting pain, if you remember how the pain started and what seems to help it feel better. Having an idea as to how to answer these questions will be super-helpful.
As well as preparing mentally, we recommend you prepare physically by wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that will allow us to easily see the skin, joints and muscles around your injury.
A singlet and shorts underneath pants and a jumper work very well in winter. In summer, a loose-fitting top and tracksuit pants or shorts would be great.
Sneakers, trainers or runners (whatever you like to call them) are the best footwear, as they offer great support for exercises and can be easily removed.
What else do I need to bring?
Physios prescribe a lot of exercise-based treatment, so don’t forget to bring an open and positive mind to each session – and a desire for swift and effective rehabilitation and reconditioning.
If you want to take notes during the session, that is fine, but, we will provide you with information and a clear plan of how we will work toward achieving your goal/s afterwards.
In order to get results and achieve an agreed goal – anything from walking to the fridge, to walking a kilometre – both of us have to be engaged in the process, commit and do the work needed.
It will likely take eight to 12 weeks or more of consistent work to get the adaptations in your body and the response that we are aiming for.
Sometimes the real barriers lay in fear and confidence, rather than muscles and joints. We will build a plan to overcome both – by working together, and sticking to the plan, we will get there!