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When is the right time to see a Physiotherapist ?

Most backaches and pains improve on their own but at what point is it worth seeing a Physio?

It’s surprising how much pain we’re willing to put up with in our day-to-day lives. People put that niggling pain or joint stiffness down to our age or the fact that you spend your working day sitting at a desk. If you’ve had an injury, you might feel that you’re recovering OK until you start to do more. If any of this sounds familiar, you might have started to think about getting some medical advice and be wondering who to talk to. GP appointments are hard to come by, and it’s not severe enough for A&E. It might be the right time to see a Physiotherapist for advice. Here’s when we want to see you.

You’ve had low-level pain for a month or more.

It’s sometimes surprising how long people will put up with pain. They have joint stiffness or

something that feels a bit niggly or grumbly and live with it for months without doing anything about it. They feel that their movement isn’t as good as it used to be but think it’s a natural consequence of ageing.

If you’ve had something like this for a month or more, a professional opinion and treatment can improve it. Issues like this can become ingrained and difficult to shift if they’re left for too long.

You might not have contacted your GP because you think you might struggle to get an appointment, or there won’t be much they can do. You might be right. Sometimes all a GP can do is offer you painkillers which may not solve the long-term problem. If you see a physio, we can talk you through your treatment options. We’ve been known to speak to GPs about patients, or we can even tell you what to say to your GP to get the treatment you need.

You’re 60% better and feel stuck !

If you picked up an injury, you might have had a bit of first aid, gone for an x-ray to rule out anything serious, and then taken it easy to give yourself time to recover. You start feeling as if you’re returning to normal, so you increase your activity and then realise that you haven’t fully recovered. This often happens with sporty people, particularly runners. They start to increase the intensity of their training or run longer distances and find that their pain returns. It can also affect people with physical jobs who realise they can’t work at the same level as before.

Treatment can help you to regain full function and move past that feeling of being stuck.

If you feel you got 60% better before your recovery started to plateau, seeing a physio is a good idea. Treatment can help you to regain full function and move past that feeling of being stuck.

You’re worried about the things you can’t do

Sometimes the catalyst that makes people seek treatment is realising that their pain will stop them from doing something important to them. They’ve been living with discomfort and going about their daily life, and something significant comes up.

It might be that they want to look after their grandkids during the school holidays and realise that running around or crouching down to talk to small children isn’t going to be possible. They’ve finally booked a foreign holiday and wonder how they will manage the plane flight or enjoy their break to the full when their movement isn’t good.

Your age can impact how quickly you heal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get back to a level of function that will let you enjoy your life.

Your symptoms have got worse

If you experience a dramatic change in symptoms, for example, pain, tingling or numbness in both legs or around your groin, call 999, as these can be signs of something serious that need immediate attention.

However, if your pain has worsened in a less dramatic way, call us. We can only offer you a proper medical opinion if we’ve seen you for a full assessment, but we can initially give you some basic guidance over the phone. That could be as simple as telling you whether to use a hot or cold compress on your injury or signposting you to appropriate care. We might suggest that you contact your GP or go to a hospital, depending on the symptoms you describe.

You want to avoid getting injured in the first place

You can’t always predict when you might sustain an injury or start experiencing pain, but there are definitely circumstances that make it more likely. If you run or participate in sports regularly, seeing a physiotherapist for general maintenance is a good idea.

You might also have started training for an event. The increased activity brings a greater risk of injury, so regular physiotherapy and sports massage can help to stop any problems before they start.


If you’re putting up with pain or feel as if your recovery has plateaued, give us a call. We may be able to help or signpost you towards the right treatment.


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