The most popular question any physiotherapist will hear at their initial assessment with a new patient is, ‘how long will it take me to get back to normal?’
This is an impossible question as there are so many different variables, there is no clear answer to this question. Saying that, there are some factors which will help you to understand what to expect and a rough guide to how long it may take:
Factor 1 – The nature of the condition
People who have physiotherapy have it for a very wide range of injuries and illnesses. These wide range of conditions can be minor injuries, surgery, soft tissue injuries and then there are the more serious and complicated conditions or injuries.
If you have a minor muscular or joint injury you may expect anywhere between 1-6 sessions of physiotherapy before you see any real improvement. Acute muscle and joint injuries can usually take up to three months to heal and you may therefore not see results immediately. Physiotherapy may start intensively and may reduce in frequency as progress is made.
Other serious or chronic conditions can take anything from 3 months onwards, depending on the patient’s needs and rehabilitation goals.
If you require physiotherapy for a more complex condition such as a stroke, a traumatic head injury or a spinal cord injury, physiotherapy is often required for at least 6 months but the patient can sometimes benefit from ongoing treatment to help reach long term goals and to minimise physical deterioration. This we call a “maintenance programme”.
Factor 2 – Your own level of commitment to your recovery
Patients who can dedicate their time to their physiotherapy exercise programme daily will recover much faster than those who are not committed wholeheartedly. Time spent outside of your physiotherapy session on stretching and strengthening exercises is just as important as the time spent in the session!
Apart from the physical exercise programme, your diet, sleeping habits and mental wellbeing play a huge part in your recovery too.
Factor 3 – The breadth of expertise of your physiotherapist
At Home Physio Group all our highly skilled physiotherapists have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that they’ve gained throughout their careers, which is why we have such a huge positive impact on our patients. We have physiotherapists that are experts in sports injuries, chronic pain, neurological injuries, respiratory conditions, paediatrics, elderly rehabilitation and much more. Our aim is to send to you a home visiting physiotherapist that is a specialist in the condition or issue that you have, and therefore providing you with the best treatment possible.
How will I know when I am nearing the end of my physiotherapy programme?
By the time you are nearing the end of your programme set out for you by your physiotherapist, you will know that your function, strength, flexibility and health has improved greatly and the range of motion you now have in that area is far greater than before. You would have achieved some or all of your goals set out at the start of your physiotherapy programme.
Communication is key throughout your physiotherapy treatment. Your physio will discuss with you after each appointment whether they feel progress has been made or not. If your therapist feels you are not progressing quickly enough then they will communicate this to you and will come up with an alternative physiotherapy plan, such as: suggesting you seek specialist advice from a consultant or they may refer you for a scan.
Your treatment should be progressive, and the ultimate goal is to see improvements and positive changes following each session.