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Frequently Asked Questions - General


No, a Doctor’s referral is not necessary to see a physiotherapist.

Unfortunately, in most cases, no. Some people are eligible to receive up to 5 Medicare subsidised physiotherapy sessions per year if they have a chronic condition (one that is, or likely to be, present for 6 months or more) on referral from their doctor.

Yes we have Hicaps at our Sunbury rooms. We are happy to save you the hassle and claim the health insurance benefit on your behalf. You need only to pay the gap. Remember to bring your health fund card.

Yes we treat TAC, Worksafe (Workcover) and Veteran Affairs patients.

You can see any of the above professions; they all treat spinal disorders. However, in physiotherapy we are proud of our scientific and evidence based practice. Nationally and internationally physiotherapists conduct much more (than alternative health practitioners) of the highest quality rigorous research and base our practice on it to achieve the optimal outcomes for our patients.
Physiotherapists are university trained professionals with a minimum of four years undergraduate training. Many physiotherapists in private practice also have post graduate masters level training. The physiotherapy philosophy in the management of spinal, back and neck pain is to initially settle the acute, severe, symptoms and then to focus on long term management aimed at prevent further episodes of pain. We aim to maximise the individual’s independence in managing their own symptoms.
Dependence on the therapist is discouraged. There is no evidence that supports long term or maintenance treatment of your spine by a health practitioner. Often we see patients who have been attending an alternative health practitioner on a weekly or monthly basis for months and sometime years with little overall change in their condition. Treatment should be goal orientated. Ensure that you discuss your progress and treatment plan with your health practitioner and if you are not getting results question why. Remember long term treatment is expensive and does not improve your ability to look after your own back or neck.

Physiotherapist is a healthcare profession concerned with human function, movement and maximising quality of life.  Physiotherapists use a scientific, evidence based approach to assess, diagnose and treat injuries, illnesses and disability.  Importantly physiotherapy also focuses on prevention of disease and disability. Physiotherapists work in partnership with their patients, assisting them to overcome movement disorders, which may have been present from birth, acquired through accident or injury, or are the result of ageing or life-changing events.

A physiotherapy consultation firstly involves the physiotherapist taking a thorough history of your current issue. This will incorporate gathering information regarding the onset and progression of your problem, combined medical history, any past injury history and, importantly, your goals. A physical examination will be then undertaken after which time the physiotherapist will provide you with a diagnosis of your condition. This is followed by the implementation of a range of treatment modalities specific to the individual. Treatment modalities may include

  • hands on treatment including joint mobilisation and soft tissue massage
  • instruction in therapeutic exercise
  • identifying and modifying any predisposing lifestyle, work or training factors
  • biomechanical correction
  • taping
  • dry needling
  • electrotherapy such as therapeutic ultrasound
  • education

You are encouraged to have an active participation in the treatment process by asking any questions you have and letting the physiotherapist know immediately if you are uncomfortable with any components of the treatment
Our physiotherapists place a strong emphasis on preventative healthcare. As much as we like seeing our patients, our focus is on providing our patients with strategies to assist in preventing injuries from reoccurring and being able to self-manage if symptoms do reoccur, reducing their need to regularly come to physiotherapy.


Dry needling is a technique that is commonly performed by sports medicine doctors and physiotherapists to assist in the management of many sports and musculoskeletal injuries. It involves insertion of fine needles into trigger point or irritated areas of muscle and connective tissue. The aim of Dry Needling is to achieve a local twitch response in the muscle causing the release of endorphins and other beneficial hormones. These hormones assist in reduction of tightness in tissue, promoting circulation, stimulating healing and reducing pain. The needle used is very thin and many people do not even feel it penetrate the skin.
The evidence base for dry needling has increased substantially over the past decade. In particular, good evidence exists for the use of dry needling in the treatment of acute and chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, tension type and migraine headaches, pelvic girdle pain, knee osteoarthritis, tennis elbow and shoulder conditions. Conditions which have a significant component of muscle spasm often respond well to needling.
If you have had a musculoskeletal condition which has not responded to traditional treatment modalities then dry needling may assist and is worth discussing further with your physiotherapist . Not all physiotherapists practice dry needling as it requires further education and certification. The practitioners that are certified at Sunbury Physiotherapy Clinic include Justine Barrow, Marc Di Paolo, Amalan Sriskandarajah, Thanh Tran and Brendan Duncan.
Dry needling has similarities to acupuncture; however it is based on scientific ‘western’ medicine and needle placement and manipulation is guided by muscle anatomy and physiology, whereas acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine and uses meridian lines and the flow of chi to dictate placement of needles and treatment.