Why do I need to be assessed when I already know what’s wrong with me?
Patients often come to physiotherapy with a referral from a doctor. The referral may have a diagnosis on it, which often leads to the question “why do I need an assessment?”
Assessments are important for many reasons, even if a diagnosis has been provided.
First of all, you have to make sure the diagnosis is right. Nerve impingement can often cause pain similar to shoulder tendonitis. Shoulder tendinitis can often cause symptoms similar to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow may sometimes produce numbness similar to carpel tunnel syndrome. So how can you be sure what’s what? A detailed assessment can check all the associated areas to your injury and find the origin of your pain. It might not be exactly what you think it is.
The initial testing during your assessment can not only provide information that will help solve your primary injury, but often provide an opportunity to investigate secondary complaints that can be addressed during your treatments. Fixing headaches can often fix dizziness. Fixing hip pain can often fix knee pain. Injuries can often cause other injuries. Your physiotherapist can treat several problems that are linked to one another.
An assessment appointment is a great time to discuss short and long term goals. Treating someone that wants to return to running marathons is different than treating someone who wants to return to walking several times a week. We are not all the same and our goals are not all the same. Understanding your goals during the assessment is an important first step in developing a realistic plan to return you to the activities that you love.
A detailed assessment is important because it often leads to proper treatment and faster recovery, which in the end, is what we are all hoping for.