Questions and Answers
The following Q&A section will help you understand more about the process of using our Physiotherapy service.
What is a Chartered Physiotherapist?
A Chartered Physiotherapist is a highly trained allied healthcare professional who isuniversity trained alongside doctors & nurses. Our undergraduate Honours Degree takes 4 years and includes 1000 clinical or patient-contact hours. We have strong academic & clinical training, & use scientifically researched clinical assessments & treatments, known as an ‘evidence-based medical approach’.
Our professional body is The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) and is based in The Royal College of Surgeons in Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2. The ISCP is the only physiotherapist’s group recognised by The Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE), VHI, AVIVA & all international health insurers.
What can a Physio do for me?
Well, Physiotherapy is relevant in many areas of healthcare. Here, at TX Mount Merrion Physiotherapy we have specialised in musculoskeletal medicine & orthopaedics.
We treat neck pain, whiplash, back pain, loss of movement, stiff shoulders or hips, sore knees, or ankles, tennis elbows, flat feet… the list is long! We can assist problems with walking, running, sports injuries, physical problems that occur from poor posture or less than perfect ergonomics at work, among other things. We treat from small children right through to very elderly, using appropriate treatments & techniques.
However, in this clinic, because we have chosen this speciality, we do not, in general, offer to treat serious neurological disorders (stroke, paralysis, birth disorders), cardiac rehabilitationetc. However we can recommend other Physiotherapy colleagues who have specialised in these areas.
Why do we use acupuncture?
The reason is that clinically we find medical acupuncture or dry needling techniques (painless if done properly) help reduce muscle activity or ‘tension’ which can allow for better manual therapy to be applied to the underlying joints. For this reason we often start with acupuncture in preparation for manual therapy and ultimately exercise.
Why choosing the cheapest treatment is usually a bad idea
Here's the problem with using 'price of treatment' as the main deciding factor on which clinic to attend -
The price does not imply effectiveness / value for money on its own! If you have to pay for double the amount of sessions with a cheap provider - then that isn't so 'cheap' after all. Likewise, paying the highest price just because you think that means you're getting the best service doesn't always ring true.
A referral based on the reputation of the clinic is nearly always the best deciding factor. Getting treated properly the first time round will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. We advise you ask your doctor, family member or friend for a recommendation. Remember you can book directly with our clinic without needing an official referral from your doctor.
Do I need a doctor’s referral?
No. ISCP members are allowed by law to treat you ‘on first referral’
(meaning without coming via a Doctor) because of our specific high level training.
Approximatley 60% of the time our clients come on self referral. The remaining 40% are referred by a GP, Hospital Consultant, or come through their employer or sports club. However recent reimbursement changes may mean you will need to have proof of a doctor’s referral to achieve maximal reimbursement for some health insurers and The Revenue Commissioners. We advise you check with the relevant body.
Irrespective of referral source, our clinic policy is to take the name of your GP, in case we require more detailed medical information or we may need to contact if treatment is not progressing as anticipated.
What happens during my first visit to the clinic?
Having been introduced to your physio, s/he will take a history of the problem you have come with, your general medical history.
We will ask about:
Aggravating activities i.e. sitting, driving, prolonged standing & 'easing postures' (what you have learned to do to ease off the pain)
This helps us choose which clinical physical tests we will need to perform to hone in on your problem.
Then we come up with our physiotherapeutic diagnosis… the named, specific condition affecting you. In most instances the diagnosis will be clear by the end of the initial assessment process. However, in some difficult cases, coming up with the exact cause of your symptoms may take a couple of visits, where your response to testing and treatment over the first few sessions makes your problems clearer.
This is often the case where you have had symptoms for many years. If this describes you, please be patient with us, as we work diligently to understand and resolve your condition.
Once the diagnosis is clear, we begin initial treatment, aimed at specifically clearing your pain and the accompanying movement dysfunction.
What other information may be relevant during the first assessment?
During the first visit, we also ask you about your occupation, sometimes in great detail if you have an unusual job. This can be very helpful to us in determining whether something in your work tasks or environment may be causing or impacting on your problem.
For the same reason we also ask about your leisure activities, both sporting and other (even prolonged sitting such as at card games may impact on your pain).
I have X-rays & scans, are they helpful for the Physio to see?
Yes, most certainly. If you have the actual ‘pictures’ bring them along on your next visit. It can be very beneficial for us to see them ourselves to confirm the diagnosis we have made. Sometimes little things observed on X-ray, when added to your symptom presentation, allow us make sense of exactly why you have the specific problem.
If you don’t have the ‘pictures’ but know your doctor has the reports, you can call your doctor & request that they fax or email the report to us (details on your appointment card)
I haven’t had any X-rays or scans, do I need them?
Well, let us assess your complaint first. In many cases our detailed & experienced testing clearly identifies the dysfunction causing your problem. In this case, X-rays add little further value & are therefore are not necessary.
However, if we feel questions remain that would be fully answered by appropriate scanning or blood tests, we will contact and discuss this with your G.P. At all times our focus is on doing the best we can for you.
What should I wear for a physio visit?
Physio is a ’physical’ process so we will need to undress the relevant area. So if it is your hand, you can just pull up a sleeve, whereas if it is your neck or shoulder you will need to remove your shirt/top so that we can observe the body part and compare one shoulder or limb to the other.
For problems in the limbs we always ‘clear the relevant spinal level’ as well, so even if you feel the problem is in your knee, we ask you to undress sufficiently so that we can assess the lower back as well. You are of course welcome to wear shorts/ a camisole as necessary for you own comfort.
Please do not feel embarrassed if your body is not quite a ‘perfect 10’ - neither are ours!
There isn’t a body shape or size we haven’t seen & treated over the years and our interest is solely on your health and bringing your body back into physical balance.
How many treatments will I need?
Until we have completed our assessment, we simply cannot guarantee a number. By the end of your initial visit, we aim to give you some idea of how many treatments we expect your problem will require, whether 1-2, 4-6, 8 or 10+. However, careful analysis of statistics of clients attending our clinics in the past number of years suggests that on average 2.75 visits is required (yes, it is just like a statistician to throw up an average number, rather than a whole number) So for ease, most straightforward presentations require between 1 and 3 visits. Of course, more complex problems may take many more sessions than this.
We use sophisticated software information tools to allow us to track our treatments and continually learn how best to approach and treat all types of presentations. We routinely audit treatment outcomes to ensure we are achieving the best efficiency for our clients.
We will also suggest the frequency of the course of Physiotherapy and how quickly we would advise seeing you again for maximal effect, if applicable.