How to get the most out of your physiotherapy session

Every session counts – here’s how to thrive in physiotherapy

A physiotherapist can help you recover from or cope with pain. Though physiotherapists are trained and dedicated to helping patients like you, a huge chunk of the progress often comes from the patient’s hard work.

What does that mean, exactly? It means that you have the power to make choices that will benefit you. It means that putting a bit of effort into your physiotherapy sessions can go a long way.

Read below to learn how you can transform your physiotherapy appointments in small ways that will pay off.

How can a physiotherapist help you?

Physiotherapy is a treatment method that uses physical movement to encourage the body to heal and be comfortable. It can treat anything physical, from injuries to medical conditions, and even pain that you just can’t quite explain.

What’s great about physiotherapy is that there are countless approaches that you can take. Your physiotherapist will learn about your specific case, and they’ll recommend a customized plan. It might include stretches, exercises, or other movements that work for you specifically.

What side effects should I expect from physiotherapy?

Here’s how to make your physiotherapy visits count

Find a physiotherapist you trust

Your comfort always comes first, and we don’t just mean that in the physical sense. It’s okay to ask questions to your physiotherapist, learn about their experience, and seek someone else’s help if you don’t feel comfortable. By building a strong relationship with your physiotherapist, you’ll quickly move through the healing process.

Be honest and open

Your physiotherapist will ask you plenty of questions. The goal isn’t to be invasive – it’s to collect accurate information to find a treatment strategy that will work for you. For that reason, we recommend sharing as much as you can with your physiotherapist.

Wear loose clothing that shifts easily

When you arrive to each appointment, try to wear convenient clothing. By this, we mean wearing clothing that is not restrictive and uncomfortable. During sessions, you might stretch or do exercises that require the ability to move with ease.

Set goals, and revisit them regularly

There’s a chance that something specific encouraged you to try physiotherapy. Maybe it was to recover from a particular injury, or maybe it was to be able to run like you used to – or play with your kids without agonizing from a sore back shortly after.

It’s always good to set goals on your own, though your physiotherapist can help you form solid, realistic goals if you’d like. These goals will motivate you and give you a ‘finish line’ to work towards.

You might even find that your goals change over time. That’s why it’s a good thing to revisit them, and update them if you think you can go further than you initially anticipated.

Be patient

For any type of therapy, physio or otherwise, it’s important to understand that patience is everything. Physiotherapy doesn’t involve flicking a switch to make you feel better instantly; it’s a process, and it takes time. Usually, you can see some turnaround fairly quickly. If your goals matter to you, though, understand that you might have to be patient to achieve them.

Ask questions

You might be curious about the process, and that’s great! Physiotherapists are trained and have plenty of professional experience – and they’ll be more than happy to share their expertise with you. Feel free to ask any questions about your treatment, your recovery, or anything else related to your experience. After all, it affects you directly, so you have the right to know about your treatment.

Track your recovery

Most physiotherapists recommend keeping a journal. This is totally optional, but it can help you track your progress. It feels good to see how far your recovery has come over time, and it can encourage you to continue with your treatment. Plus, you’ll be able to keep a record of what works and what doesn’t.

Follow your physiotherapist’s instructions

Your physiotherapist will carefully decide on the right treatment options for you. They might include recommendations that affect your daily life outside of your sessions. For example, they might recommend changes to your sleep patterns, diet, or exercise routine.

These recommendations are meant to encourage your healing. That’s why it’s important to carefully follow these instructions.

Advocate for yourself

Physiotherapy is all about you: your pain, your discomfort, and your progress. Remember, nobody knows your body better than you. That’s why it’s important to speak up, and share any concerns or feelings of pain that you may experience. It’s also important to share your opinion, and let your physiotherapist know what you think of each part of your treatment. Their goal is to help you, but they don’t know how you feel until you give feedback.

READ MORE: How lymphatic drainage can help you


When you see a physiotherapist, you’ll be getting help from a trained professional that is dedicated to helping you feel great. Still, it’s important to be dedicated yourself – that way, you’ll heal faster and feel better than you thought you could.

Michael McCreight, Registered Physiotherapist

Mike is an experienced and talented physiotherapist who holds a BSc in human kinetics and an MSc in physiotherapy. He doesn't believe in a “one-size-fits-all” approach and is committed to providing client-centred care, tailoring each treatment plan to each patient’s unique needs and personal goals.

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