Melbourne is Australia’s sporting capital, packed with world-class athletes and weekend warriors alike. And with good reason – the city boasts an incredible climate and some of the most picturesque running and cycling tracks in the world.
With so much action going on, it’s no wonder that accidents and injuries are common. As such, there’s no shortage of physiotherapists who claim they’re the bee’s knees.
We know finding a physiotherapist is as easy as googling ‘Physiotherapy near me’, or looking through Yell.com. But with so many options, knowing the telltale signs of a great physiotherapist can be tricky.
Why Bother Conducting Research when Choosing Your Melbourne Physiotherapist?
Physiotherapy isn’t a simple case of ‘one size fits all’. Your body, condition and personality are unique, so your physiotherapy treatment should be too.
The best physios will understand your injury, lifestyle, preference, tolerance levels and budget before recommending a treatment plan. If your physio is rushing you through the door or attempting to sell a ‘package deal’ without proper assessment, it’s time to sprint in the other direction!
By doing your due diligence, you’ll find a physiotherapist who is not only experienced and qualified but also a good fit for you personally. Here’s how you can go about it:
How to Find the Right Physiotherapist for You in Melbourne
Check their qualifications
You wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t qualified, so why would you settle for anything less regarding your physiotherapist?
All physiotherapists must be registered with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) in Australia. Being an active member means they must uphold the APA’s Code of Conduct and Standards for Practice, which puts the patient first (and not their bank balance).
If your physio is a Member of the APA, it means they’ve completed the necessary training and experience to join and have access to the latest research and resources. It’s also required by law; if your physiotherapist isn’t registered, they shouldn’t be practising period.
Opt for experience
There’s a difference between a freshly graduated physiotherapist and someone who’s worked in the industry for 20 years.
While new grads are passionate and have theoretical knowledge, they may not have hands-on experience treating patients with your specific condition. This isn’t a deal-breaker by any means, but it’s something to keep in mind.
An experienced physiotherapist will have likely seen and treated everything from a sprained ankle to a dislocated shoulder. They’ll also offer unique insights from their years of practice that you can’t teach in a textbook. This could be anything from better anticipating your pain levels or providing alternative exercises from what was originally prescribed.
Get a Physio that specialises in your condition
Just like medical doctors, physiotherapists can have specialisations too. Physiotherapy covers various treatments and conditions, from specific sports injuries to work-related chronic pain.
While most physiotherapists have a basic understanding of all these conditions, it pays to see someone who has specific experience treating yours. Simply ask them about their history treating patients with your condition and whether they have any specialised qualifications.
For example, if you’ve suffered an injury playing AFL, see a physiotherapist who has experience treating footballers. AFL athletes generally have a different mindset as they’re eager to get back on the field asap. Thus, a physiotherapist should tailor their treatments with this in mind, keeping them in check if they’re pushing themselves too hard.
Get a referral from a doctor
Doctors often work with physiotherapists to develop patient treatment plans. This means they won’t refer you to some quack who will interfere with their own.
If you’ve seen a GP or specialist about your injury, they can provide you with a physiotherapist they personally endorse. They’re also likely to refer you to someone they’ve worked with before and who can offer high-quality care.
Because of this reason, there is no better referral than one from a doctor.
Look for red flags
Unfortunately, there are always some bad apples in every profession. Some are set in their old ways and dismiss new, evidence-based research. Others may be more interested in selling you unnecessary supplements or are stretched too thin to make you a priority.
Let’s go through a few red flags to watch out for:
Poor facilities and equipment
Melbourne clinics typically have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Suppose your physio is practising out of a cramped, dirty studio with outdated equipment, or the staff don’t seem to be taking basic infection control measures. In that case, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
A lack of depth in their team
Your physiotherapist can be qualified and experienced, but they’re only human. A clinic with a team of multidisciplinary health professionals is more likely to provide you with comprehensive care.
Make sure to check their roster of staff and enquire about any other health professionals that may be involved in your care. Their workforce and credentials should be diverse, displaying a wide array of achievements and qualifications.
Inconsistent or contradictory advice
If your physiotherapist is giving you conflicting information or going back and forth on their recommendations, it’s time to get a second opinion. This is especially important if you feel like your progress is minimal.
Click with your physiotherapist
This one is more important than you may think. You’re trusting this person to help you recover from an injury or manage a chronic condition. If something irks you about them, or you don’t feel comfortable, consider going elsewhere.
Physiotherapy is personal in nature and goes beyond simply providing you with exercises to do. They should paint a perfect picture of what your injury is and the plan of action whilst encouraging you along the way. They should also convey encouragement in a way that suits you – whether it’s more tough love or gentle coaxing.
When talking to your physio on your first visit, pay attention to how they communicate with you. It may be the difference between an efficient recovery and a slow one.
Check reviews and ask around
A physiotherapist that is the talk of the town is usually a good sign. If everyone you know has only great things to say, you’ll most likely have a good experience.
Of course, you can’t always rely on word-of-mouth. Checking Google and Facebook reviews can only do so good as they can be fabricated or written by the business themselves. If you know anyone who’s had first-hand experience with the clinic or physiotherapist, that’s the best way to gauge whether or not they’re any good.
Ask about their other treatment options
While physiotherapists are the experts and know what’s ideal, make sure they at least hear you out. It may not be the best fit if they’re not interested in your input or are dismissive of your concerns. Ultimately, it’s your body, and you should have a say in your treatment.
A good physiotherapist will explain all potential treatment methods on the table. They should also be transparent about the risks and benefits of each option and what you should expect.
Never be afraid to delve a little deeper; ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable. After all, this is your health we’re talking about.
Check their availability
We briefly discussed that being stretched too thin can lead to subpar care. The same goes for their availability – or lack thereof.
Will they be available if you feel a sudden jolt of pain on a weekend and require emergency care? What about after-hours during the week? The last thing you need is to be put on a long waiting list or have to wait weeks for an appointment.
If your physiotherapist sees over four patients per hour, each patient receives an average of 15 minutes of their undivided attention. That’s perhaps 5 minutes to evaluate your progress and 10 minutes to complete your active treatment. It’s not ideal for anyone.
Ensure they aren’t overbooked to the point where they can’t give you the care and attention you deserve.
There you have it – a few key pointers to help you find the best physiotherapist for you. Melbourne is lucky to have some of the best physios in the country, but remember that not all of them will be the right fit for you.
Do your research, ask around, get a specialist, and most importantly, trust your gut. It will probably not work out if you don’t feel comfortable with your physiotherapist.
OneBody Personal Training – Providing you with the best physiotherapy in Melbourne
Looking for exceptional physiotherapy in Melbourne? Look no further than OneBody Personal Training in Melbourne. We wrote this article to help you find the best physiotherapist for your needs, and we genuinely believe we are the best in the business.
Our team of highly qualified physiotherapists will create a customised treatment plan specific to your injury or condition. We not only have the experience and book smarts but also the passion and drive to get you back to your very best self!
Contact us today at 0466 888 063 or fill in our online enquiry form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to helping you on your road to recovery!