Physiotherapy can help people recover from injuries, manage chronic conditions and improve physical function and mobility. Despite its wide-ranging benefits, many people don’t know how helpful physiotherapy can be or what to expect when going to see a physiotherapist. In this blog we’ll explore some of the most common questions about physiotherapy, from how many sessions you’ll need to how much it costs to access privately.
Frequently asked questions about visiting a physiotherapist
How many appointments will I need to attend?
The number of sessions you need depends on a few different factors, including the type of injury or condition being treated, your overall health and how you respond to the treatment.
A course of treatment can range from one session where you leave with helpful advice, to several months of follow-up sessions. An injury like a minor sprain may only take an initial appointment with a few follow-up sessions, whereas something more complex like recovering from a hip replacement could require ongoing treatment.
Your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals, which will include their recommended frequency and how long they’ll need to see you. It’s important to make sure you listen to their recommendations and attend the appointments at the frequency they suggest.
How can physiotherapy help?
While often linked to recovering from an injury there are several reasons people visit a physiotherapist.This includes:
- Pain management: Physiotherapy can be helpful for people who are dealing with pain. They use various treatments such as manual therapy, providing recommended exercises, heat and cold therapy and electrotherapy to help reduce pain and discomfort. This is particularly helpful for people who suffer from chronic pain.
- Rehabilitation: For people who do have an injury, physiotherapy can help with rehabilitation to help you recover quicker. Injuries, such as sprains, strains and fractures can be helped by using exercises to rebuild strength, flexibility and range of motion.
- Prevention: Physiotherapists can help prevent injuries as well as helping to rehabilitate them. They identify potential risk factors and provide guidance on exercise and lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the risk of injury or re-injury. This is particularly helpful for people who lead active lives or want to avoid an injury they’ve dealt with previously.
- Improving physical function and mobility: Physiotherapy can help people improve balance, coordination and physical function. This can lead to greater independence and a better quality of life for people who are having to rely on others or are struggling with everyday life due to physical limitations.
Do I need to be referred by a GP?
No, you can visit a private physiotherapist without the need to visit your general practitioner. All you need to do is find a physiotherapist you want to see and book the appointment through their practice, they’ll most likely ask you for some information about your condition and also be able to provide you with a quote.
You can be referred through your GP if you do visit them about an issue and they can put you through as an NHS referral. In this case, you’ll need to wait to receive an appointment with a physiotherapist which typically takes significantly longer than booking in privately. If you are referred you can also choose to contact a private practice yourself.
You can claim on your cash plan for a private appointment if your GP or Consultant Physician/Consultant surgeon recommends that you receive treatment.
How much does it cost to see a private physiotherapist?
The cost of visiting a private physiotherapist depends on a few things, such as the location of the clinic or the type of treatment required. On average a private physiotherapy session in the UK ranges from £40 to £90 per session. The cost may be higher for specialised services or treatment, such as the use of electrotherapy.
A health cash plan allows you to claim money back when accessing therapy treatments, including physiotherapy. With Westfield Health, you can claim back 75% of the cost, up to set limits, when visiting a registered physiotherapist. For example, if your appointment cost £40, you’ll be able to claim back £30 meaning your cost for the appointment will only be £10. The amount you can claim depends on which level of cash plan you choose.
You can learn more about our health cash plan, the different levels available and all the treatments you’re covered for.