should i see a doctor or physio first?

Should I see a doctor or physio first?

So, something has happened and you, or someone at home is injured.  Should you see your doctor or physio first? It doesn’t feel like it’s getting better and you aren’t sure just who you should be booking in with.

Your doctor, a physiotherapist, or off to the hospital?

should i see a doctor or physio first?

When you should see your doctor first

Obviously if you have had a massive injury, or you are really sick, you won’t be reading this – you will be off to the hospital!

If you have had an issue for some time, its a bit unusual, or things just aren’t resolving, your GP is the person to see.

If it turns out to be a complex or chronic condition that can be helped by physio, you may be eligible for a Medicare Referral for up to 5 visits (you can read more about Medicare Referrals here “Can I get Medicare Rebates for Physiotherapy“).

The other times you should see your doctor first is when you have had an injury at work, or car accident.  Again, your doctor will refer you for physiotherapy once they have checked you out.

To access physiotherapy after a work or car accident (Workcover or CTP Insurance), you need a doctors referral to come and see us.  That way, we can bill the insurance company directly and you can worry about getting better quickly!

When you should see a physiotherapist first

For strains and sprains, in fact anything musculoskeletal – coming straight to physiotherapy first is one of the best ways to get better fast.

Physiotherapists spend pretty much all day, everyday on musculoskeletal injuries.  Your doctor (who does a great job) sees a whole range of things all day, everyday.

Physiotherapists are the experts in diagnosis, assessment and treatment of muscle and joint injuries.

We can diagnose you precisely, get cracking on your treatment immediately and get you back on track much faster.

Physio’s can refer for X-Ray, MRI and other images as required, at the time of your appointment, saving you time.  Some images (like certain MRI scans) are bulk billed by your GP and we will send you to your doctor for review.  However, if you see a physiotherapist first, we can get your treatment started and put in place any interim measures as needed (like a moon boot, strapping, cast, splint or brace). Most importantly we will get your recovery, rehab and return to life started much sooner!

This can save a huge amount of time, effort and money on those occasions your go see your GP and are referred to physio anyway.


If you have any muscle pain, joint pain, ligament injury or any nerve pain – coming to us and seeing a physio first is your best option.

We will refer you on to your doctor if needed – immediately.  We have great relationships with all the GP’s in our area and will communicate with them about your injury.

You will be seen same day, or within 24 hours of calling us. We will get your treatment started, and refer you to your doctor when you need to see them.  Most importantly, we will get you back on track and feeling better ASAP.


About the Author

Scott is the practice principal and owns the clinic with his wife Sandy, who is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Scott has over 18 years’ experience in both elite sport and with everyday people, he spent 2011 & 2102 as the Rehabilitation Coordinator and Sports Physiotherapist for the Adelaide Crows.  Prior to this Scott has worked with many teams and individuals including;

  • Adelaide Football Club
  • Australian Sevens Team
  • International Rugby Board
  • Australian Women’s Ice Hockey Team
  • ACT Brumbies

Both the physiotherapy and exercise physiology services are overseen by Scott.  In addition to teaching the private courses offered here at the clinic, Scott has taught on undergraduate and post graduate courses for physiotherapy and exercise and sports science.  He has also been a regular presenter for Sports Physiotherapy Australia on the Level 2 Sports Physiotherapy Course.

In 2014 he was awarded the title of Clinical Fellow of Australian Catholic University for both physiotherapy and exercise physiology.

About the clinic

Bounce Physiotherapy | Bounce Exercise Clinic is  a physiotherapy and exercise physiology private practice based in Drummoyne, Sydney.

Established in the Inner West of Sydney since 2003 our business has provided services across the spectrum from injury treatment and known pathology to improving your general health and wellbeing, or athletic & sports conditioning.  Whatever your needs are we can help you get there. Bounce Physiotherapy | Bounce Exercise Clinic offers both clinical services and fitness services for our clients.

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