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Physiotherapy Treatment

How Long Before I See Results From Physiotherapy Treatment?

Physiotherapists use physical methods to enhance your body’s ability to move, gain strength, and function properly. Physiotherapy can address multiple issues, from sports injuries to chronic pain. The time it takes to see results from physiotherapy can vary, depending on what your condition is and what kind of treatment you are receiving. 

People experience their physical problems in unique ways, leading to the question: How quickly does physiotherapy treatment start making a difference? This is a common question among patients eager to return to their daily activities or sports. In this blog post, we will discuss this question in more detail!

How Long Does Physiotherapy Take to Work?

Physiotherapy does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. Your physiotherapy treatment depends on several factors, including the type of ailment, individual healing processes, and the severity of the injury. Here are the estimated healing times for different types of injuries:

Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and bruises, generally take 6-8 weeks to heal. The duration of physiotherapy treatment for these injuries may extend slightly longer, depending on the specifics of the injury and the individual’s response to treatment. Therapy sessions focus on reducing inflammation, restoring movement, and strengthening the affected area to prevent future injuries.

Muscle and Tendon Recovery

Muscles are known for their rich blood supply which aids in a quicker recovery. Minor muscle strains typically heal within 2-4 weeks. However, tendons, which have a poorer blood supply than muscles, generally require more healing time—about 4-6 weeks. Physiotherapy treatment for these injuries includes techniques to enhance blood flow, which can expedite healing and help regain functional capacity.

Bone Healing

Bone injuries can be more complex and usually heal in 6-8 weeks under normal circumstances. Physiotherapy typically begins after any necessary immobilization phase, such as casting. The focus is on restoring mobility and strength while ensuring the healing bone is protected from undue stress.

Ligaments and Cartilage

Ligaments and cartilage injuries are among the most challenging to heal due to their limited blood supply. Recovery for these tissues can take approximately 10-12 weeks. Physiotherapy for such injuries is crucial and involves a gradual approach to increase the range of motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles to support and stabilize the joints.

When Should I Start Seeing Results from Physiotherapy?

When you begin with physiotherapy treatment, it’s essential to manage your expectations about the immediacy of results. Generally, progress may appear slowly, such as gaining the ability to make a fist with a previously broken wrist or flexing a sprained ankle. Although these are small gains and vary with injury type, these early improvements are significant milestones on the path to recovery.

It’s normal to still have symptoms (e.g. pain, stiffness, etc.) during your initial physiotherapy appointments. However, you will begin to notice slight improvements after your first few sessions, typically within the first week or two. To track your progress effectively, consider setting incremental goals with your therapist. These simple yet specific goals are important in achieving full recovery.

The effectiveness of physiotherapy can be influenced by the skill of the physiotherapist and the nature and severity of your injury. It’s crucial to keep the process the same; every step in your therapy plan is designed to facilitate a complete recovery. If there’s no noticeable improvement after two weeks, it might be necessary to evaluate, in conjunction with your physiotherapist, the effectiveness of your current therapy approach.

Indicators that suggest a change in your therapy plan might be needed include a lack of progress, a stagnant treatment plan that doesn’t adapt to your needs, discomfort with your therapist, or a feeling that your concerns and goals are not being acknowledged or addressed by your physiotherapist.

Furthermore, the availability of your physiotherapist is essential. Difficulty in securing appointments can hinder your progress, as effective rehabilitation requires consistent, personalized attention beyond passive treatments like traction, massage, or ultrasound. If appointments are consistently hard to come by, this may impede your recovery process. 

How Long Does It Take for Physiotherapy to Have Long-Term Results?

For optimal long-term outcomes, physiotherapy should prioritize the method/type of treatment rather than its duration. Effective physiotherapy treatment generally involves a hands-on approach; with it, the therapy may yield enduring results. These treatments can be categorized as either passive or active. While passive therapies, such as specific modalities administered to the patient, may alleviate acute pain, they do not contribute to enhanced mobility. 

In contrast, active treatments involve the patient’s direct participation and are crucial for achieving sustainable improvement. Adhering to your physiotherapist’s recommendations for stretches and exercises is essential to maximize long-term benefits. If your therapy regimen does not involve actively using the affected area, it will unlikely lead to sustained results.

How Long Does Your First Physiotherapy Session Last?

Your first therapy session might take longer than the others, lasting about 45 to 60 minutes. This initial appointment includes an orientation and a detailed assessment. Your physiotherapist will review your medical and surgical history and any medications you’re currently taking. So, remember to arrive about ten to fifteen minutes early to complete any necessary paperwork.

Subsequent physiotherapy sessions (i.e. follow-up appointments) will last from thirty minutes to an hour. Depending on your therapist’s recommendations, you might need to go to sessions every day, several times a week, or less frequently. As your mobility improves, you’ll gradually need fewer sessions until you no longer need them at all. It’s important to stick to your therapy plan closely to have the best chance at a complete recovery.

Conclusion

Physiotherapy is an important component of recovering from various injuries that is customized to meet your specific needs. It focuses both on long-term recovery and short-term relief. The number of physiotherapy treatment sessions and how long they last can differ, but it’s important to keep up with the exercises and advice your therapist gives you. 
If you have sustained an injury, have chronic pain or other physical ailments, and are looking for a physiotherapy clinic in Winnipeg, Bridgwater Physiotherapy is there for you. With years of experience, our physiotherapists offer expert care and personalized treatment plans to help patients overcome their physical challenges and improve their quality of life. We provide the professional support and resources needed to achieve optimal health outcomes.