You would think it would be simple: Ask a physio why your knee hurts and get the answer.
But the reality is not that simple. In a Physio consultation, what usually follows your initial question is a barrage of questions that the Physio fires back at you. Like any good Detective, we need many clues to solve the detective story of what is going on with your body.
At Online Physio, we have many people using our ‘Livechat’ feature to ask us questions about their injuries. We absolutely love communicating with you and offering guidance for your injury, but we wanted to explain why we sometimes cannot give your questions a specific answer.
First and foremost, we cannot legally diagnose your injury without a complete official Physio consultation. Without all of the appropriate information, it would be irresponsible of us to give advice specific to your needs.
As your rehabilitation plan is constructed in response to your diagnosis, we also cannot give you a specific rehabilitation plan without a complete assessment.
What we CAN do is give you general information about the process of seeking treatment and answers for your type of injury. We can certainly let you know if your injury is suitable for a Physiotherapy consultation, or if you need to see another type of health professional.
In, short, no two injuries are the same, and as Physios, we pride ourselves on ensuring our diagnosis, advice and rehab plan are tailored specifically to your needs. We can’t do this without a complete consultation and assessment.
Here are just some of the variables that can impact your injury diagnosis, prognosis and your subsequent rehabilitation plan:
As you age, different structures tend to get injured
Super short or tall people can face increased ergonomic challenges, and weight can affect the load on your joints
Not all pain is the same. Clues such as pain coming and going, worsening when getting out of bed, or hurting when you brush your teeth could lead us to diagnose differently.
Trend of the pain
If your pain is overall worsening, overall easing, or overall staying the same, we can draw certain conclusions about your injury.
Each body part has a range of questions specific to the area that helps us to work out what structure may be involved
If you are aware of your pain at night, this can give us more clues as to the injury picture.
Have you had your pain for 3 days or 3 years? Different timeframes can mean different things for an injury.
Did you fall down a step, trip on the cat, or did you do nothing at all? Knowing how the pain started helps our problem solving
If you have had this injury before, this can have implication for your rehabilitation plan.
We need to work out if your work has contributed, and if you need to make any modifications to it in order to get better
Fit and unfit bodies injure differently and recover differently.
Do you want to compete in an Ironman or do you just want to walk painfree? Your goals dictate your rehabilitation.
If you have been taking medications for your injury, your response can give us clues.
Reading an xray or scan report is not the be all and end all, but is clearly a great help in assessing your structures.
Your rehabilitation plan may change according to what treatment you have and haven’t responded to in the past.
So next time you run into a Physio, rather than ask ‘Why does my knee hurt?’, a better approach may be to ask ‘Would this injury be suitable for Physiotherapy?’. If it is, your Physio consultation could be the best investment you make for your injury.
We’ll make damn sure of that.