For whatever reason you find yourself in need of the services of a respiratory physiotherapist, knowing what to expect from your initial consultation can be slightly daunting and many people don’t really understand what respiratory physiotherapy is.

If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone, which is why we thought it might help to guide you through what your first session might consist of.

First of all your physiotherapist will ask you some questions to gain an insight into your individual situation. There isn’t a “one size fits all” answer to physiotherapy so any treatment needs to be specifically designed around you for maximum effect. Your physio will want to know:

  • all about your symptoms – when they started, what they feel like, what makes them worse, what makes them better.
  • if you’ve already had any tests or investigations in relation to your symptoms, so please bring along any information about this if you have it!
  • details about any other health problems you may have as well as any medications you’re on.

Seeing your physiotherapist is the perfect opportunity to address any questions you may have about treating your condition too, so we always suggest writing any questions down in advance of your consultation and bringing them with you. We find that sometimes people forget what they wanted to ask when they’re asked on the spot! Feel free to bring a family member along with you if you feel that would help.

Once you’ve talked through all of the above, your physiotherapist will then examine you.

Exactly what happens during the examination will differ depending on your complaint but typically it will take one of three forms, or may even involve more than one…

  1. An airway clearance assessment – this involves analysing how well you can clear your chest of secretions, and consequently suggesting techniques +/- adjuncts to help.
  2. A breathing pattern assessment – this involves looking at how you breathe. It sounds bizarre but it is relatively common for the breathing mechanics i.e. the way you breathe and the muscles involved, to become disrupted in response to different situations / stimuli.
  3. An exercise assessment – this will involve looking at how much you can do before your symptoms come on. It may involve looking at your oxygen levels too. We’ll talk about improving your physical activity and exercise within your abilities and establishing some goals to work towards. We may also talk about pulmonary rehabilitation.

At the end of your assessment, you will be provided with a full explanation of your symptoms and how respiratory physiotherapy can help. You’ll be given a plan to go away with to practice at home and more often than not, we will arrange a follow up appointment to see you again within the next week or so to see how you’re doing.

We’re able to offer physiotherapy assessments our clinic at 77 Wimpole Street in London. We also offer home visits if you are unable to travel to the clinic and live in London.

Air Physiotherapy accepts self-referrals, and referrals from the patient’s GP or respiratory consultant.

Founder of Air Physiotherapy, Emily, recently featured in an article by Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Specialist Care which helps explain the value the service the team provides to private patients.

Click on the image below to read the article in full.