If you have been involved in an accident or suffered a major trauma, you should definitely book an appointment to see your family doctor, who will likely advise you to get an x-ray. That said, if you have suffered a break or a fracture, you will be able to tell that something is not right, because it will be extremely painful and you will have unnatural movement. Plus, fractures or broken bones will often result in bruising and swelling. The x-ray would then confirm exactly what is wrong and provide you with peace of mind.
However, if your pain came on gradually and you aren’t really even sure what may be causing it, you likely don’t need any further investigations right away. Your injury may just be due to overuse, tears, or strains of your muscles.
Rest assured that your therapist is a highly skilled professional who is trained to help determine what your injury consists of, as well as decide on the best treatment option to get you back to your normal activity as soon as possible. Upon your first visit, they will carry out a full examination and assessment.
When it comes to MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), they should only be considered if you have been clearly instructed to go down this road by your doctor or physiotherapist, as they are very costly to the healthcare system, and you will have to wait for months just to get an appointment (unless of course, you want to pay a private facility to expedite the process). That said, you will not want to wait around for months, when you could get started on a rehabilitation program via physio immediately. The longer you wait to heal your injury, the worse it can become. And why suffer longer than you have to, right?
So in summary, if there are no obvious signs that something is badly damaged, then no – it is not necessary to have an x-ray or MRI after an injury before visiting your physiotherapist.
Remember…your doctor and physiotherapist deal with the same types of injuries day in and day out. Your health and well-being is their number one priority. Rest assured they will steer you in the right direction and have your best interests at heart.
We urge you to get the ball rolling on your recovery as soon as possible, and book an appointment with a physiotherapy clinic like Dunbar Physio in Vancouver at your earliest convenience. We would love to have you as a new patient!