Subjective Assessment

What is a Subjective Assessment?

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Subjective Assessment

What is it? And Why is it important?

A high-quality subjective assessment is one of the most undervalued tools a therapist uses to assist in providing a diagnosis and rationale alongside determining a clients severity and irritability.

A good therapist should have some form of an idea of what condition/injury/pain their client is trying to describe to them before even laying a hand on them. An objective assessment (physical) should merely be used to confirm or deny their "hunch".

Throughout a subjective assessment I'd look into;

  • The site and Spread of the injury
  • Mechanism (how it happened)
  • Description of pain
  • Onset and intensity
  • How it has been since it happened
  • Family History
  • Social History (i.e what the client does as a job/hobbies and interests)
  • History of Present Condition
  • Diurnal Cycle (how it changes throughout the day)
  • Any swelling/bruising/redness/heat
  • Aggravating and Easing factors (this gives you a REALLY good idea of what it could be)
  • Neurological signs (numbness/burning/pins and needles)
  • Medication
  • Sleep affected?
  • Red Flags (these are questions asked to be sure there is nothing sinister going on)

Further questions may be necessary, to a therapists discretion, to dig a little deeper into the present condition.

Quality questioning can and should guide a therapist to a primary and secondary hypothesis leading to suitable methods of treatment for the presented injury.


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