What to expect during the first physiotherapy visit?

Have you been advised by a colleague, friend, family member or doctor to see a physiotherapist? This is your first visit and you do not know what to expect or what it is. This article will allow you to go to your first physiotherapy session with realistic expectations while being well prepared.

It should be noted that the physiotherapist can be consulted as a firstline treatment. This means that you do not need a medical prescription to be treated. In fact, once the evaluation of your condition is complete, the physiotherapist will be able to tell you if it is really necessary to consult your doctor.

What should you bring?

It is important to wear clothing that allows you to expose the area of ​​the body to be evaluated. In addition, if you have been recommended by another professional or a physician, do not forget to bring your request/prescription and your test results.

The session

The first appointment consists of an assessment of your condition. A physiotherapy diagnosis includes the evaluation of the various structures, of existing deficits and limitations, while ensuring that there are no other underlying issues.

When you first arrivel, you will fill out a health questionnaire that will allow the physiotherapist to learn about your associated conditions and your medical history. The assessment will begin with a discussion of the history of the condition and a subjective assessment. This consists of a series of questions that will help us better understand your situation, your expectations and your complaints.

Then, the objective evaluation will be done by performing different physical tests, including the assessment of walking, posture, strength, mobility and more. The physiotherapist will evaluate the integrity of the different tissues that may be involved.

Finally, the physiotherapist will take the time to explain your condition, the structures affected, your treatment plan as well as the exercises you will have to perform at home. He or she will also answer all your questions. If time permits, some treatment modalities will also be performed.


Treatment modalities vary depending on the type of structures affected and the deficits to be addressed. Education and recommendations are important components of physiotherapy. Modalities will also include a personalized exercise program targeting the deficits noted in the assessment. In addition, the use of manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilizations, myofascial release techniques and neural mobilizations may also be helpful. Finally, analgesic modalities such as cryotherapy or thermotherapy as well as electrotherapy will help to relieve pain.

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