Initial Physiotherapy Assessment: Intro to Biopsychosocial Model

by Aug 18, 2020Anj's Road to Recovery

What can I expect at my first physio appointment?

Hello everyone!

On today’s blog I will be discussing my very first physiotherapy assessment with Tom! Now, something you may not know is that an initial physio session usually consists of a lot of discussion and questions, rather than exercises. Many people come into their first session expecting a quick fix, but to get a true understanding of the issue for a long term solution, we require an understanding of the root of the problem. While key questions about past history and life are needed, my physiotherapist Tom has spoke on how taking a more inquisitive approach can be much more effective. Asking broad questions such as “what brings you in today,” can start a larger conversation that reveals many more factors contributing to a patient’s injury. Patients then start to include what they feel is important in their response, which may comprise of things separate from the biological issue.

This approach is among the biopsychosocial model approach in the healthcare field. It is a “theoretical foundation for the application of multidisciplinary approaches to illness management across many medical conditions” (Roth et al., 2012). By doing so, professionals are given the opportunity to dive deeper into not only the biological reasoning for the injury, but potentially psychological and social factors that could be coincidently preventing healing in the body. This would mean looking at things such as social status and mental state.

Biopsychosocial Model of Pain

Biopsychosocial Model of Pain from our blog post: Pain: How it Works & Management

Upon my initial assessment, an instant factor that Tom noticed from using this approach, was my stress levels. This would fall under the psychological category. Tom mentioned that there is a huge link between stress levels and pain.

This makes perfect sense, as I have always been one to stress over every tiny thing and leave little time for relaxation. I was told I have “monkey mind,” and that it would be helpful to find a method to control my many thoughts and stressors. Monkey mind is when you find yourself often unsettled or restless and indecisive, this can happen when you have too many things going on at once and haven’t developed a way to balance them. I’m sure many of you can relate!

As Tom noticed this key factor in my life that seemed to be taking up lots of head space, he thought it would be best for me to develop mechanisms on how to release stress. In my next post I will be discussing some of the mechanisms I have been trying out!

That’s all for now!

– Anj


Roth, R.S., Geisser, M.E., & Williams, D.A. (2011). Interventional Pain Medicine: Retreat from the Biopsychosocial Model of Pain. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 2(1), 106-116. DOI:10.1007/S13142-011-0090-7

Anj’s Road to Recovery