What happens in a physiotherapy appointment?

    By The Simplyhealth Team  Updated: 8 March 2021
Physiotherapist with a patient looking at the shoulder

Physiotherapy follows a holistic approach considering the body as a whole. During your first appointment, your physiotherapist will ask a number of questions about:


  • you and your condition
  • the site and history of the problem
  • aggravating and easing factors
  • previous treatment and past medical history.


This is called a subjective assessment and allows your physiotherapist to understand the symptoms and how it affects you as a patient. You will then have a physical assessment where you will be asked to perform specific movements, allowing your physiotherapist to assess your range of movement and any discomfort it may cause. Your physiotherapist may also need to provide a hands-on assessment, to check for any muscle length changes, whilst also passively moving the joints, or examining the spine.


At the end of your first appointment, your physiotherapist will provide you with an explanation regarding the cause of your symptoms and provide you with education and advice on how to manage the condition initially.


They will also advise whether physiotherapy treatment is appropriate, and provide a treatment plan if this is the case.


Follow-up physiotherapy sessions will consist of a brief discussion regarding any changes in your symptoms, and how you have felt since the last session. This will be followed by treatment, which may include:


  • mobilisation and/or manipulation of the spine and/or joints
  • soft tissue mobilisation
  • neural mobilisation 
  • electrotherapy i.e. ultrasound 
  • strapping; to support the joints and facilitate muscle activation
  • a specific exercise programme focusing on mobilising, strengthening and stabilising the affected area
  • lifestyle education and advice.


The physiotherapist will discuss the best combination of treatments with you prior to treating you.

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