By Amy Gillespie, Physiotherapist
This is a question that I find a lot of people struggle with. They aren’t sure how soon after they injure themselves should they see a physio. They will often get advice from friends or family saying they need to wait x number of days or weeks before booking in for physio. In my opinion however, the sooner the better! If you have an injury that has only recently happened, in the last few days, and you are still feeling really sore and irritable, there is still a lot of value in seeking help from your physio.
One of the great things that physio’s are good at (particularly digital or online physio’s) is giving self-management advice and education. We can give you the tools to know how to manage your injury. We can give you advice about whether you should be resting completely (eg. Bedrest or sitting and watching Netflix all day!) or performing ‘relative rest’ which I would define as resting from those activities that are aggravating the injury (such as heavy tasks at work or around home or intense exercise) but still keeping active with gentle activity on a day-to-day basis. We can give you advice about whether you need to have any imaging done or whether you need to see your GP for pain relief or anti-inflammatories.
One thing I have often found over my 14 years of being a physio, is generally, the sooner a patient seeks treatment, the quicker the recovery and the less time they actually need to see me for. Now, obviously this isn’t always the case and sometimes people have more serious injuries that are going to take a certain length of time to recovery, but in general, for normal sprains and strains or back/neck pain the sooner the better. By knowing what to do and how to manage your injury you are setting up the ideal conditions for recovery, you don’t develop compensation patterns from other areas of your body and I think most importantly, you feel in control of your injury. Seeing a physio early gives you confidence, you know what is wrong and you know what you need to do and what you should be limiting during your recovery. You have a plan and for your mind, that takes the worry out of the injury. We know that how someone perceives and feels about their injury can have a significant impact on how they recover and can be one of the biggest predictors of whether someone will recover well or not.
Digital or online physio is great in these acute situations and that is why we offer our one week package, for those that have a small niggle or twinge that they want advice about and the exercises they need to do to help with recovery. The benefit of digital physio is that you have the ability to have more contact with your physio, we have a system that allows SMS type messaging (through our secure platform) so you can ask all the questions that you have as they come up compared to the traditional physio visits where you generally wouldn’t have any contact between visits.
Always get that physio input as soon as you can after injury, you generally spend less time and money seeing the physio and you get back to living your best life sooner! Click here if you would like to get in contact with me.