What to expect during the first physiotherapy visit?

Did a colleague, friend, family member or doctor advise you to see a physiotherapist? This is your first visit and you do not know what to expect or what it is. This article will allow you to go to your first physiotherapy session with realistic expectations while being well prepared.

It should be noted that the physiotherapist can be consulted in a primary care setting. This means that it is not necessary to have a medical prescription to be taken care of. Moreover, the physiotherapist can tell you if it will really be necessary to consult your doctor once the assessment of your condition is complete.

What to bring?

It is important to wear a garment that allows you to strip the area of ​​the body to be evaluated. In addition, if you have been recommended by another professional or a doctor, do not forget to bring your request/prescription and your examination results.

The session

The first appointment is an assessment of your condition. A diagnosis in physiotherapy includes the assessment of different structures, of the present deficits and limitations, while ensuring that there are no other underlying issues.

Upon arrival, you will complete a health questionnaire that will allow the physiotherapist to know your associated conditions and your medical history. The assessment will begin with a discussion of the condition’s history and a subjective assessment. It consists of a series of questions that will help better understand your situation, your expectations and your complaints.

Then, the objective evaluation will be carried out by performing various physical tests, including the assessment of walking, posture, strength, mobility and more. The physiotherapist will evaluate the integrity of the different tissues that may be involved.

Finally, the physiotherapist will take the time to explain your condition, the affected structures, the treatment plan and exercises that you will have to perform at home and he will answer all your questions. If time permits, some treatment techniques will also be performed.


The treatment techniques vary according to the type of structures affected and the deficits to work on. The education and recommendations offered are important components of physiotherapy. The rehabilitation will also include a personalized exercise program targeting the deficiencies noted during the assessment. In addition, the use of manual therapy techniques may be useful, either by joint mobilizations, myofascial release techniques and neural mobilizations. Finally, analgesic modalities such as cryotherapy or thermotherapy, as well as electrotherapy will help to relieve pain.