When Should You Start Physiotherapy After Injury
Georgiy Sekretaryuk
September 13, 2021
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When Should You Start Physiotherapy After an Injury?

When Should You Start Physiotherapy

Right away. With a few caveats, of course.

For one, when we state right away, we don’t suggest picking yourself up off of the pickleball court and hobbling over to a clinic. When it comes to acute injuries where there may be a break or fracture you should always see a physician first. You may require realignment in the emergency room (ER), followed by a cast. After that we suggest making your physiotherapy appointment as soon as possible. Further, those who must undergo surgery (to receive metal plates, pins, etc.) for an acute injury in the ER will have to wait until they are physically able to come into a physio clinic. In this latter case, a physician may suggest waiting until major pain subsides and stitches come out, but that (pain) can be subjective and can set your healing process back. While a physiotherapy clinic is by no means an ER, we do encourage you to at least schedule your very first post-injury consultation with a local physiotherapist as soon as you’re out of there. Here’s why timeliness is so very important.

5 Practical Reasons to Immediately (after leaving the ER) Schedule a Consultation With a Physiotherapist After Sustaining an Injury

Scheduling

Although every person and scenario is different, the general rule regarding for when you should start physiotherapy after an injury is 48-72 hours. That does not mean you should wait that long before scheduling your first consultation. One of the reasons to make that important call (or to send an email) within a few hours of leaving the ER is scheduling. The best physiotherapy clinics in your areabook up fast, and you may not be able to get in to begin treatment in that 48-72 window. If you’ve found this article because you’ve sustained an injury and Google-searched “when should you start physiotherapy…” the time to get the ball rolling, is now.

You May Worsen an Injury by Not Seeing a Physiotherapist

Some injured parties put off seeing a physiotherapist because they are afraid of aggravating their newly sustained injury. The reality, is quite the contrary. By spending another day without the guidance of a therapist, you actually run the risk of doing what you feared most. A physiotherapist is an expert in body movement. While logic will dictate that you do not put undue stress on the injured part of your body, you may move in other ways that will aggravate your injury and cause unnecessary pain. Every day that you put off starting physio can worsen your injury which can lead to longterm loss of optimal function.

The Interconnectedness of Biomechanics

The knee bone is connected to the thigh bone, and so on. Take the lyrics of the Skeleton Dance (circa 1928) to heart, as it speaks to your biomechanics. All of the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and tissues work together, with structure, function and motion all being interconnected. An injury in one area may absolutely impact the pain and performance of another, and then some. Sitting back with your leg (etc.) elevated all day while catching up on Netflix can throw off your entire musculoskeletal system. A leg injury can escalate to back pain, a neck injury can spread to the shoulders, an elbow impairment to the wrist, and so forth. Keep this unfortunate series of events from happening by getting in to see a physiotherapist right away.

May Help You Avoid Unnecessary (and possibly harmful) “Remedies”

While your post-injury visit to the ER may not require immediate surgery, subsequent visits with your physician may result in their recommendation for elective surgery. Far too many times this is unnecessary, as corrective action can instead be taken by working with a physiotherapist.At the very least you should know what your options are. By seeing a physiotherapist as soon as possible, you will be exposed to those options and can make a more informed decision before going under-the-knife.

Another supposed “remedy” a physiotherapist can help you avoid is the most dangerous of all – prescription pain killers, namely opioids. By all means you should take every possible step to avoid opioids for pain management. View more physiotherapy vs deadly opioids, which details why it is so very important to consult with a physiotherapist soon after being injured.

Get Back to Being YOU Faster

The ultimate goal for starting physiotherapy after an injury is to get back to your sport, activities, work, and day-to-day life as soon as possible, without suffering from pain and/or loss of function. When people get injured, they no longer feel like their true selves, and that takes a mental and emotional toll that can be harder to come back from that any sprain or stress fracture. But as soon as you start physiotherapy, the road back to being YOU begins. Why wait another month, week, or even day to make that happen?


Again, while the general recommendation for starting physiotherapy for common injuries is 48-72 hours, the time to make that call or send that email is now. If you are in the Burnaby BC area we encourage you to contact Absolute PhysioCareright away to schedule your consultation.

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