Doctor Vs Physio: Who To See First

One of the most common questions we receive is “Should I See The Doctor Or Go Straight To The Physio” and often it’s the same questions we will ask in order to get your answer. So we’ve decided to share some of these questions with you so you can have a better understanding of Doctor Vs Physio. 

Do I Need A Referral To See A Physio? 

Simply put “No” you don’t need a referral to see a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists in New Zealand are considered primary care health professionals, providing injury prevention, health promotion, patient care and physical rehabilitation. 

Can A Physio Submit An ACC Claim?

Yes, physiotherapists can lodge an ACC claim for you if you have an injury, without a doctor’s referral. Therefore many injury treatments plans are subsidised. 

Can A Physio Diagnose My Injury? 

Yes, physiotherapists have the necessary skills to diagnose your injury. 

Who Is Better Equipped To Manage/Treat My Injury ?

It depends on the injury, however in many cases if you are suffering from a musculoskeletal injury, it is often preferable to receive treatment from a physio who can provide you with more ACC coverage.

Who Is Able To Prescribe Exercises?

Physiotherapists create exercise plans personalised to your injury and rehabilitation .  

Who Provides “Hands On” Manual Therapy?

Although some doctors may provide this in limited capacity, in general physios provide the manual therapy needed for patients to fully recover from an injury.

What If I Require Scans ?

Did you know physiotherapists can refer you directly for a scan without the need for a doctor.

But When Should I See Both?

The most important thing is your recovery. Should you require mediation such as pain killers, anti-inflammatories or injections, then it is best to consult your doctor  in addition to your Physio. At the end of the day Doctors and physiotherapists work closely together  to ensure their patient’s best outcomes are achieved.


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