During the last 10-15 years things have changed for the physiotherapists in Sweden’s primary care. If you look in the mirror all the patients met a doctor first, who decided IF the they should meet a physiotherapist and also WHAT the physio should do. Luckily for patients, doctors and physiotherapists this has changed. Now all musculoskeletal disorders goes to the physiotherapist first for a diagnosis and IF necessary to the doctor for painkillers or further investigation (MRi etc).
During the last couple of years physiotherapists have started to be able to send patients to x-ray or do cortico-steroid injections in joints or muscle-attachments. Since may I have been one of the lucky trusted to use the injections, both with local anesthetic but also cortico-steroids when found suitable. This is thanks to a good relationship with the doctors at my center who doesn’t protect their territory, and trust my education and skills.
The injections adds a new dimension to diagnosis but also shortens the time for patients from diagnosis to certain treatments. This is in my view a very good example of how to improve the healthcare with focus on the patients. We (physiotherapists) have the overall best knowledge about the musculoskeletal disorders and anatomy and therefore should have the tools to help them instead of sending them to a doctor and then take them back to us. This saves the patients a lot of time since there is always a waiting period for 1-2 weeks until you meet a doctor (if not acute).
It will be interesting to see what the coming 10-15 years has to give us, in my opinion the physiotherapists have undergone a huge knowledge revolution and are breaking new ground in science and practice, not only in Sweden but also in Europe. What new task awaits us around the corner?