Why Your Physio Asks All Those Questions – Examination
Now the physiotherapist has a good view of your pain, the history of your condition, your medical history and has excluded any medically serious matters they can get down to looking at you to complete the picture your answers have pointed to. The physio will have an idea of the kind of pain problem you are having and will have a checklist in their head of structures to examine and test to look for further evidence to back a particular view. It is very likely you will need to undress to a degree to allow the physio to see the general area of the pain and surrounding joints.
You may be asked to stand still while the physiotherapist checks your posture. We spend a lot of our time in static postures and acquire particular difficulties related to each specific posture type. The physio will look for an abnormal posture and note that they may need to test particular joints or muscles for weakness or shortness of range. Postural pains are common and it is possible to change a typical posture but it takes some time and perseverance.
The physio will then check the area and level of your pain and ask you to perform a series of movements and report whether this alters the pain for better or worse. Some anatomical structures respond to being stretched with pain while a different kind of problem will be painful if the structure is compressed. The examination is performed in a systematic way to give information about the specific structures which might be at fault.
Once the movements have been performed the physiotherapist may perform a number of manual examinations on you, moving your limbs or back or compressing certain joints, again looking for the typical pain you usually complain of. Palpation of the individual joints and vertebral levels of the spine can be performed in neutral and stressed positions, again with the aim of narrowing down the field towards a structure or group of structures responsible for the pain. Once the first part of the examination has been completed, with careful regard for a person''s pain levels, the physio may add some more detailed tests to confirm or deny the diagnosis they are forming.
After the examination the physiotherapist will put it together with the history and your medical past to make a diagnosis of the kind of problem you have and present this with the suggested treatment to you for approval.
Author: Jonathan Blood-Smyth