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Help unclog overcrowded medical centres: Go directly to your Physio (sometimes)

Imagine you’re sitting in the waiting room of your local medical centre. It’s 30 minutes past your scheduled appointment already. Take a deep breath to calm your frustration. You can just taste the germs in the air can’t you? People are coughing and sneezing, babies are crying at the perfect pitch to double your headache. But you’re not sick; you’ve had a sore neck and back that’s developed into an unremitting migraine that won’t go away. Now imagine if you went to The Beaches Sports Physio in Dee Why instead. Appointments that run on time, state of the art facilities, no screaming babies and no recycled flu germs flying around. Sounds too good to be true compared to the overcrowded medical centre doesn’t it?

Most people automatically go to the GP for anything causing pain, not realising their local physiotherapist is basically a doctor specialising in pain. This causes medical centres to become crowded (spreading more germs), doctors to become even more backlogged, economic pressure to be put on an already strained healthcare system and appointments to fall further behind. You can avoid the added stress of going to the GP in a number of different circumstances.

Now, obviously there are going to be times when your physio isn’t going to be the best first point of contact. Really badly hurt? Get to the hospital please. If you’ve had a car crash or work accident always try to get in and see your GP first – they will help you sort out any insurance issues such as getting a claim number from the insurance company.

When should I see a physiotherapist first?

Your local physiotherapist is a musculoskeletal expert. That means they are the experts in diagnosing any sprains, strains, muscle and joint injuries and assessing and recommending treatment.

  • Back and neck pain

Your physio will first undertake a clinical examination to determine the location and cause for the pain and how it is affecting the movement and muscles of the neck and back. “But I NEED an xray, right?!?!”. Wrong for 95% of cases of back and neck pain. So why waste your time and energy going and getting a superfluous scan that has a high likelihood of giving you the all clear? If you do actually need one, your physio can refer you on for one.

  • Ligament injuries – acute or ongoing

Have you ever rolled your ankle and there has been just a little bit of swelling? I hate to be the one to break this to you, but a little bit of swelling = a little bit of bleeding = a little bit of a tear in something (in the case of rolling your ankle it’s likely a ligament!)

Your physio will discuss with you the management of the recovery to the ligament you have injured, including prescribing a physical rehab program. You will focus on the need to regain movement, reduce any swelling, strengthen the muscles that support the joint and regain your normal movement patterns including balance and proprioception.

  • Muscular tears/strains/contusions

Muscle strains/tear/corks/contusions treatment will vary depending on the diagnosis of your physio. Depending on the severity of your muscle strain it can take anywhere between a few days and several weeks to rehabilitate successfully.

In most occasions, a GP will refer you to a physiotherapist to diagnose your injury anyway. By seeing a physiotherapist first you allow your treatment to start straight away. For most musculoskeletal injuries, the quicker treatment is started, the quicker the injury is fully healed.

Physiotherapists can refer you for further scans like an MRI or X-ray and in Dee Why, The Beaches Sports Physio has a great network of GP’s and specialists we regularly work closely with to get you back to full fitness as quickly as possible.


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