This depends entirely on the information you give the physiotherapist and the progress you make. However it’s usually split into the subjective assessment and the objective assessment.
The subjective assessment
The majority of your first session will be a discussion to find out about you and your condition – the subjective assessment.
Typical questions you may be asked include the following:
- How long have you had the condition – was it an injury or long-term strain?
- Have you already seen a practitioner?
- What makes it better or worse?
- How does it affect your daily life?
- What are your work and hobbies?
Your physiotherapist will also take your medical history to check if your current condition could link to an existing condition. Gathering all of this information is important because it ensures that the advice the physiotherapist gives you is safe, while helping to devise a hypothesis for the injury. It also helps to determine your goals and expectations for treatment.
The objective assessment
The next step is to physically assess your injury – this is known as the objective assessment. At this point you’ll be asked to perform a series of movements to demonstrate where you may have stiffness or discomfort. This assessment helps to confirm the injury hypothesis made in the subjective assessment.
The combination of these two assessments will help to rule out anything more serious, or give the physiotherapist grounds to refer you to an expert.
If there’s time at the end of this session, you may be given some treatment, or exercises to do at home. Your physiotherapist will explain what the aim of this treatment is, and what you should hope to achieve from it. If you have exercises to do, they’ll show you how to do them and give you an information sheet to guide you when you’re doing them at home.