The Definitive Guide to Physiotherapy
As physiotherapists, we often assume that everyone knows what we do and how we can help people realize their full potential. However, many people don’t know what physiotherapy is exactly and how it can help them. Every day we see people who have lived with pain and restricted movement unnecessarily. Often for years without seeking help. This guide should help shed some light on what physiotherapy can do for you.
The guide explains our profession, its origins, its many facets and most importantly, how it can help you with your life. This guide provides information for both people interested in physiotherapy as a service and profession.
If you are interested in physiotherapy as a career, this guide will help you decide if a future in this fantastic profession is right for you. You will learn what it takes to become a physiotherapist, the required schooling, and the ongoing education, which is a vital part of our profession.
Hopefully, this guide will demystify the world of physical therapy and ease any concerns you might have about booking an appointment with a physiotherapist. If you still have questions if physiotherapy is a fit for you, do not hesitate to contact our office.
We are a family-run clinic located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Physiotherapy is in our blood. We love the profession and how it has changed the lives of the thousands of clients we have treated. We hope our love of what we do shines through as you read this guide.
What is Physiotherapy?
Merriam-Webster defines physiotherapy as; therapy for the preservation, enhancement, or restoration of movement and physical function impaired or threatened by disease, injury, or disability that utilizes therapeutic exercise, physical modalities (such as massage and electrotherapy), assistive devices, and patient education and training.
The Canadian Physiotherapy Association defines physiotherapy as; physiotherapists are primary health care professionals with a significant role in promoting and treating injury and disease. They combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.
We at Bergin Motion like to define physiotherapy as facilitation of movement. We believe physiotherapists are experts in our body’s movement and how that relates to pain, range of motion and injury prevention. Our slogan, Move Better, we feel sums up physiotherapy in two words.
What Happens at Your First Visit to Physiotherapist?
If you have never been to a physiotherapist, you might be wondering what to expect? So let’s dive right into some questions that you might be wondering before your first appointment. Here is our list of frequently asked questions.
Is there a name for my first appointment?
Yes, your first appointment is almost always an initial assessment. Even if a physician or another medical professional has referred you, your physio will still need to assess you for themselves. An initial evaluation may or may not include a treatment session. However, after the initial assessment, your physiotherapist will consult with you on an effective treatment plan.
What should I wear to my first physiotherapy appointment?
Loose-fitting clothes are ideal. You should make sure that your physio can access your affected area. If you are suffering knee pain, as an example, wearing shorts would be ideal if the weather permits.
Do I have to take my clothes off during my physiotherapy appointment?
No, you can relax, you will not have to take your clothes off. However, some adjustments to your clothing may be necessary.
How long does an assessment or treatment take to complete?
That depends on your physiotherapist, the standards of the clinic you are attending, and who is funding the session. Here at Bergin Motion are assessments and treatments are usually booked for 60 minutes. However, some sessions can take a little longer or shorter, depending on the treatment’s nature.
Do I need a Doctor’s referral to book an appointment in Ontario?
Thankfully this changed many years ago. A Doctor’s referral is no longer necessary. You may book an appointment directly with a physiotherapist.
Does physiotherapy treatment hurt?
Our total focus is working to relieve your pain. However, you may feel some minor discomfort during your session and for a bit longer. We don’t believe in the expression, ‘no pain, no gain,’ but we can’t guarantee there won’t be some discomfort. As the client, you are always in charge of your own pain. We will always treat with your pain tolerance in mind.
What is the difference between a Physiotherapist and a Physical Therapist?
There is absolutely no difference between the two professions. In the United States, they use the term Physical Therapist, and in Canada and most of the rest of the world, the term is physiotherapist.
Covid 19 and Physiotherapy
Covid 19 is a severe virus that has derailed all of our lives and changed the way goods and services are delivered worldwide. The Ontario government has declared that physiotherapy services are essential and not subject to closures during the pandemic. As Health Care Professionals, physiotherapists often treat vulnerable people and taking extra precautions is standard fair. Personal Protective Equipment and other protections are standard operating procedures at all clinics, hospitals and home settings where treatment takes place. You can rest assured that we take this virus seriously, and your safety and well-being are our top priority.
A Brief History of Physiotherapy
There is evidence that the ancient Greeks performed various exercises to reduce pain and increase their range of motion. The Greeks were the first known group of people who actively sought pain management and injury with non-invasive techniques. Solutions without surgery or medicine form the core belief of physiotherapy. This belief is that there are alternatives to surgery and pharmaceutical solutions to our pain and discomfort.
Physiotherapy is quite different than when it first began. It has experienced rapid advances in diagnosis, equipment and treatment.
The origins of physiotherapy date back to the early 19th century. In 1813 the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics was founded. The Institute is the first documented organization to use massage, manipulation and exercise to relieve pain and increase motion range. The discipline has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
Physiotherapy as a treatment method was used extensively throughout Europe and North America throughout the 19th century. During the First World War, nurses employed physiotherapy techniques to wounded soldiers, which enhanced the practice.
Over the last one hundred years, physiotherapy has evolved rapidly with many new and innovative techniques. We will explore some of these techniques further in the article.
One key takeaway regarding physiotherapy’s origins evolved from its humble beginnings to where it is today. Physiotherapy has essentially not changed its core belief. That belief is that medication and pharmaceuticals are not the only way to solve pain caused by an injury. Physiotherapy provides a natural method for the body to heal. This fact was valid one hundred years ago, and it will be true 100 years from now.
What do Physiotherapists Do?
Unless you have been to a physiotherapist, you might be wondering what exactly do they do. Even if you have attended to one or two physios, you still might not be aware of the vast array of skills and techniques that they possess.
Physiotherapists assist people in all walks of life. They treat more than lower back pain and sports injuries. They are in our hospitals, clinics, workplaces and our homes. They treat everyone from babies to the elderly. They work with clients to inform and educate them to enhance their lifestyle and stay active.
Physiotherapists primarily use three distinct methods of treatment. Manual therapy, exercises and electrotherapy techniques(laser, ultrasound, shockwave).
Manual therapy is a hands-on approach to therapy. The therapy involves gentle manipulation of the musculoskeletal system. This type of therapy is effective in reducing pain and increasing the range of motion. Manual therapy is effective in reducing inflammation and relaxing the muscles.
Manual therapy to the untrained eye looks a lot like massage therapy. Therefore physiotherapy is often confused as a type of massage. Massage therapy is beneficial and often utilized in addition to physiotherapy. However, most physiotherapists do not provide massage therapy themselves.
Exercise therapy helps to strengthen weakened muscles, restore balance to the body and increase range of motion. Every physiotherapist has a vast treasure trove of exercises at their disposal. Each activity targets a specific muscle or area of the body.
Electrotherapy involves the use of external devices to send a small electric pulse to a client’s body. Tiny electric pulses promote healing through muscle relaxation and stimulation. Electrotherapy helps muscle tissue regeneration as well as preserving and improving range of motion.
The broad areas described above represent a quick snapshot of what precisely a physiotherapist might use to treat. We will take a much deeper look into each technique further in the guide. Every client is different, and every injury is unique. Also, no two physiotherapists are alike even if they received the same training. Therefore someone might receive a different treatment technique at a different location from another clinician. If you are searching for a physiotherapist, it is essential to understand who they are and what treatment method they favour. In the next section, we will discuss what you can do to ensure the clinic you choose will treat you effectively.
Questions You Should Ask A physiotherapist Before You Book An Appointment
1. What is their preferred method of treatment?
It is vital to understand how your physiotherapist prefers to treat. In our opinion, the best form of physiotherapy is Manual Therapy. They might supplement treatments with exercises and electrotherapy.
2. Will I be left alone to do exercises on my own?
Some physiotherapists instruct their clients to do a prescribed exercise on their own while the therapist attends to other matters. Although this might be an all too common practice, you should avoid going to a clinic that utilizes this habit. You will always be seen one on one with our physios. We often prescribe exercises to complete at home but we will always walk through the excersies with you ensuring proper technique.
3. How long does a typical treatment take place?
We have all been to a Doctor’s appointment where the Doctor has little or no time for us, and it leaves us with a feeling of frustration. This scenario is all too familiar in our profession. Sessions that are less than 30 minutes in duration are less effective. Some clinics treat a client for 15 minutes. If our clients took time out of their day to drive to our clinic, they deserve the best treatment possible. At Bergin Motion, the vast majority of our assessments and treatments are one hour in duration. There may be scenarios where we treat a client for less than an hour and times where we treat longer than an hour.
4. Will you be attending to other clients during my treatment time?
Receiving one on one therapy is a vital component of a successful outcome. That is not how some physiotherapy clinics operate. In some clinics, one physiotherapist may have two or three clients they see at one time. The physio instructs one client to do an exercise with a second client working at a machine while attending to the third client. At Bergin Motion, we always implement one on one sessions. If your appointment is for one hour, you will be with a physiotherapist for one hour.
5. Will a licenced and certified physiotherapist conduct my treatment?
We have heard of some clinics utilizing non-physios to treat a client while charging an entire physio session. This practice is unethical and only cheats the client. At Bergin Motion, you will always be seen by a registered practitioner.
6. What role do Physiotherapy Assistants, Rehab Support Workers, and Athletic Therapists have in your clinic?
All of these professions have their role in client care. However, these valuable support workers should help to support the physiotherapist, not replace them. Make sure the clinic you choose utilizes these vital professions the right way. With your consent, we may coordinate with other pracitioners to improve your rehab. This will only be done for your benefit and with your consent.
The Partnership Between a Therapist and a Client
The bond between a physiotherapist and their client is vital in achieving the desired outcome. We like to think of it as the client who moves toward recovery, and as therapists, we help facilitate the intended result.
The crucial factor is trust. Trust is vital as it builds on a belief that your therapist has a plan and that plan is the right plan. Once you believe and the two of you are on the same page, the path to recovery is much more likely.
Keep in mind that physiotherapists have a holistic approach to healthcare. A good physio is not interested in just getting you back to work, back to your sport or being pain-free. They want you to learn along with them how you can avoid a repeat and stay healthy and active after recovery.
A key element of recovery is the homework that you are required to do. At our clinic, clients have prescribed exercises to do at home. These exercises help to speed recovery and educate the client on how to take ownership of their body. It would be best if you did these exercises between visits to your physio for optimal results.
The Importance of Completing All of Your Prescribed Treatment Sessions
I am sure everyone has been prescribed medication by their Doctor. A great deal of the time, once we feel better, we stop taking our medicine. This behaviour drives Physicians crazy, and the patients often have a recurring illness and require another visit.
This habit is all too common with physiotherapists. A client will present with an injury. Once assessed, the therapist will recommend a treatment plan. This plan will include the types of treatment, duration of the sessions, the frequency of sessions and the required number of sessions.
In our experience, there is a point where the client is pain-free. Often at this time, they feel that therapy is a waste of time, and they stop going. Stopping treatment as soon as you have some improvement is a bad idea. You should always finish your prescribed number of treatments. If you feel there is no need to continue seeing your therapist, consult with them and let them know your thoughts. Remember, this is a partnership, and like any good relationship, communication is critical.
Is Physiotherapy Free in Ontario?
Like most healthcare services, physiotherapy is expensive. Let’s examine the different methods of paying for physiotherapy.
OHIP is an acronym for Ontario Health Insurance Plan. If you hold a valid Ontario Health Card, you will be eligible for physiotherapy paid for through this plan. OHIP does come with some caveats. Yes, it’s free; however, depending on your location and needs, there could be a significant waiting list. Another thing to consider regarding OHIP is the duration of treatment sessions paid for through the plan.
WSIB is an acronym for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. Employers pay into WSIB, which acts as insurance for employees injured at work. For those injured at work, this plan might be right for you. WSIB coverage only applies to those who have filed a claim with their employer and received a claim number and authorization to attend physiotherapy. On an important note, not all physiotherapy clinics accept WSIB claims, and you still may have to pay a portion of your treatment.
Employee Benefits- many companies, both large and small, offer physiotherapy benefits for their employees. These benefits may have a cap on either the number of sessions or a dollar amount each year. Employee benefits are an excellent way to enjoy the beneficial effects of cost-effective physiotherapy. Make sure you check with your employee benefits package to see if you are eligible.
Insurance, whether home, auto, property, often will pay if your injury applies to that particular insurance. Check with your insurance provider if you are eligible.
Personal Injury Lawyers are another source for assistance in covering physiotherapy costs. Personal injury lawyers act as advocates on your behalf to maximize the benefits that you deserve through your coverage.
Paying cash for your physiotherapy sessions is one of the best methods of optimizing your recovery. If you pay for your sessions on your own, you have all the control. You decide which clinic you want and which therapist you want to treat you. With many of the plans and methods, you are often at the mercy of the system’s demands on locations and time limits.
Because of the restrictions many of the programs above cap time and funding allotment towards the physiotherapist, our clinic does not accept WSIB and OHIP billing.
Is There HST on Physiotherapy?
Most healthcare professional services are exempt from HST in Ontario. Physiotherapy is one of the professions exempt from taxes, therefore you will not be charged HST on services related to your physiotherapy services.
What Other Charges Might I Incur With Physiotherapy?
There should not be other charges related to your physiotherapy appointment. Generally, your payment covers the cost of extras such as the use of towels, gowns, loose clothing and other items provided by the clinic. During the Covid 19 pandemic, some clinics charge a small fee to cover the clinic’s safety measures costs.
Areas of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists all have the same basic training during their post-graduate schooling. However, upon graduation, their education continues. The College of Physiotherapists mandates that a licenced physiotherapist show proof each year of their continuing education. Therefore many physiotherapists turn to specialization after graduation. Here is a small list of the main areas of physiotherapy. We will then dive into what skills these specialists to enhance your recovery.
- Pelvic Floor/Women’s Health
Within these main areas of specialization, physiotherapists might further specialize in a niche area of the discipline. Let’s take a closer look at each area of physiotherapy.
What is Orthopedic Physiotherapy?
The majority of the time, when someone thinks about physiotherapy, they imagine orthopedic physiotherapy. Orthopedic physiotherapy, often called Ortho, represents a large percentage of what we do as physiotherapists. Orthopedics refers to conditions that relate to the musculoskeletal system. These primarily consist of the following:
- Spinal Disks
- Connective tissue
Orthopedic physiotherapists work to assess and treat your condition with a variety of techniques. They might include:
- Manual therapy
- Dry needling
- Neuromuscular stimulation
Physiotherapists have a holistic approach to healthcare, and they work to ensure the body’s systems are operating correctly. The musculoskeletal system must work in conjunction with the cardio-respiratory and nervous systems. Physios try to balance all of the body systems and educate their clients on the best methods to maintain this balance.
Let’s now take a deep dive into some of the lesser-known specialties of physiotherapy.
What is Neurology Physiotherapy
Neurology physiotherapy, often shortened to neuro, is a specialty branch of physiotherapy. Neuro deals with conditions associated with the brain, which cause impairments to movement and cognitive functions. Brain injuries, no matter the severity, can have long-lasting and detrimental effects on an individual. Treatment helps to mitigate the impact of brain injuries.
Neuroplasticity is the bedrock of Neuro Physiotherapy. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to strengthen or weaken neuro pathways to respond to extrinsic or intrinsic stimuli. Simply put, our brains are changing all the time. To some, this may seem obvious to others; maybe that comes as a shock. However, the fact that the brain can regenerate and develop new pathways is exciting. Neurological physiotherapists work with their clients to assist the brain in establishing new neural connections.
Acquired brain injuries can happen at any time to anyone. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of brain injuries. Workplaces and sports, as well as slips and falls, may cause damage to the brain.
Concussions are injuries to the brain. Neurological therapists can work with your concussion to help you to heal the damage and regain your sense of normality.
Sports Rehabilitation Therapy
Whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, you most likely have suffered an injury if you have played sports. Sports therapists don’t just treat sports injuries, they help to prevent injuries and improve athletic performance.
It’s a combination of all three that make sports physiotherapists essential if you plan to excel in your sport. Many athletes attribute their Sports Therapist as second only to the coaching staff in importance to their success.
The injuries that sports physiotherapists treat are as endless as the number of their client’s sports. These are some of the more common injuries.
- ACL recovery
- Ankle sprains
- Shin splints
- Hand injuries
- Hamstring pulls
- Groin strains
- Tennis elbow
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy
Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a specialized therapy that focuses on the muscles that support the pelvic region. The pelvic floor refers to the group of muscles that form a bowl between the hip bones. The pelvic area is responsible for keeping the colon, bladder and uterus supported. Weaker pelvic muscles can lead to a host of complications.
Here is a small list of the many conditions that Pelvic Floor Specialists treat:
- Urinary Incontinence
- Bowel Incontinence
- Urinary frequency
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Painful intercourse
- Overactive Bowel
Pre-natal and post-natal women often need the assistance of a Pelvic Floor Specialist. Carrying a baby puts pressure on the pelvic floor, and they require assistance in strengthening their pelvic muscles.
Women are not the only ones who can benefit from strong pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor weakness in males can result in erectile dysfunction, frequent urination, constipation and bowel difficulty.
Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy helps clients reduce and clear lung secretion. Cardioresp therapists work to clear lung secretions and reduce, enabling clients to reduce the effort to take in oxygen.
Cardio-Respiratory physiotherapists mainly work in a hospital or acute care setting. Here is a small list of conditions that therapists might treat:
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Post-Surgical Recover
- Respiratory Infections
Kids as young as newborns can benefit from physiotherapy. Pediatric physiotherapy is a specialization that treats conditions unique to children. Even babies benefit from physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists who specialize in pediatrics help children throughout their development from babies to adolescents. Children’s needs are much different than adults’. Having a dedicated child-focused physiotherapist to guide a child throughout their crucial development years is advantageous.
Congenital and developmental conditions benefit significantly from early and sustained treatment. Here is a small list of conditions treated by a pediatric physiotherapist:
- Cerebral palsy
- Balance and coordination difficulties
- Spina Bifida
- Club foot
- Poor fine motor skills
- Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Gross motor skills
- Poor posture
- Orthopedic injuries
- Post-surgical recovery
What is our vestibular system? We take it for granted that we can stand upright without falling over. The ability to remain upright is all thanks to our vestibular system. Most people are unaware of this little-known and highly complex system residing in our ears.
Our inner ear detects our head movements, such as nodding up and down, left and right, and tilting side to side.
We take for granted this system, but it can lead to severe problems when this system begins to fail us. Damage to the vestibular system can cause dizziness, fainting and falls.
Common causes of vestibular damage include car accidents, medications, aging, falls, tumours and other trauma to the brain.
Physiotherapists who specialize in Vestibular Rehab work with clients to establish equilibrium, balance and coordination.
Physiotherapists work with males and females from the cradle to the grave. Geriatric physiotherapists enhance the lives of those who are in their twilight years.
Elderly clients present with unique and demanding conditions as a direct result of the aging process. Physiotherapists specializing in Geriatrics work to restore mobility, prevent deterioration and assist the elderly in staying active and living independently.
The saying, use it or lose it, is accurate with our musculoskeletal system. Elderly clients at any age should stay active, move their body and strengthen their muscles. Geriatric clients are challenging because they often have several factors that affect their overall health. Living conditions, cognitive function, socio-economic situation, medications, and other underlying health concerns can make assessment and treatment difficult.
Here is a shortlist of some of the conditions a geriatric physiotherapist may treat:
- Fall prevention
- Stroke recovery
- Balance difficulty
- Hip replacement recovery
- Knee replacement recovery
- Post-surgical treatments
- Respiratory difficulties
- Cardiovascular care
- Mobility restoration
Oncology is a branch of medicine that diagnoses and treats all forms of cancer. Physiotherapists are ideally suited to assist in the care, comfort and rehabilitation of cancer patients.
Cancer patients present with unique issues. The effects of cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, and post-operative recovery rob the body of strength, range of motion, balance, and vitality.
Oncology physiotherapists assist in maintaining a client’s range of motion through stretching exercises. They help to improve the patient’s strength that’s lost throughout the treatment cycle. Oncology physiotherapy is a vital part of a cancer patient’s recovery process and is proven to be clinically effective in aiding treatment.
What is Evidence-Based Physiotherapy?
Among physiotherapy’s governing bodies around the world, there is a movement towards evidence-based physiotherapy. There is no clear definition of the meaning of evidence-based. The World Confederation Of Physiotherapy defines it as “a commitment to use the best available evidence to inform decision-making about the care of individuals that involves integrating physiotherapist practitioners and individual professional judgement with evidence gained through systematic research.”
Evidence-based physiotherapy or EBP means that therapists practice their profession using the best techniques based on proven scientific research. Using the methods and modalities proven to work, clients can feel reassured that they are receiving the best possible care.
EBP also assists therapists in their practice management and policy formations. Standard rules, responsibilities, reporting all help to elevate the profession and lend confidence to clients.
Does Physiotherapy Work?
Does physiotherapy work? Yes and no is the honest answer. Physiotherapy is clinically proven to relieve pain, increase strength, balance and range of motion in regards to many injuries and conditions. It can help in a wide range of conditions, but it can’t fix everything.
Physiotherapy is a branch of health care, and sometimes it is not the best approach to a client’s problem. Surgery, medication or other approaches might be the best solution for an individual. Evidence-based physiotherapy relies on science to guide the therapist to make the right choice for their client. If other options are better, a physio must inform the client that they should pursue alternative treatment methods.
Does physiotherapy work in suitable conditions? The answer is a resounding yes. In our clinic, we have seen remarkable success stories. We have watched thousands of people recover quicker, resume activities earlier and remain healthy longer.
Often, the recovery pace depends on the client’s buy-in and commitment towards the rehabilitation process. With proper diagnosis, effective treatment and effort of the client, physiotherapy is a highly effective remedy for many conditions.
Keep in mind that physiotherapy is a holistic approach to healthcare that hopes to avoid painful surgery or dangerous medications. However, often physiotherapy is used in conjunction with these other options.
Benefits of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy is not the cure for all that ails us. Yet, it does provide many clinically proven benefits. Here is a small list of some of the advantages that therapy affords.
- Pain relief: This is the number one reason why physiotherapy is so popular. Relieving pain without medication remains the most significant impact that therapy achieves.
- Return to normal activities: Returning to the activities we love to do or the sport we love to play is a big motivator to stick with your therapy sessions. Physiotherapy will get you back to work sooner, which helps the pocketbook.
- Improved balance: Imbalance is one of the leading causes of pain. Whether it is a muscular imbalance, poor gait, or improper posture, physios work with their clients to correct the underlying causes of their imbalances.
- Increased range of motion: Having a complete range of motion in your joints is vital to maintaining a healthy, productive lifestyle. Injuries, surgeries, poor posture and imbalances will cause a reduction in our range of motion. Physiotherapists work to extend your range so that you return quickly to a healthy and active lifestyle.
- Better balance: Improving balance, especially in Seniors, is vital to remain safe and independent and avoid falls. Physios work with a wide range of balance exercises designed specifically for each client. The musculoskeletal and vestibular systems control our balance; these exercises work to enhance these systems and restore balance to our body.
- Quicker recovery from surgery. Physiotherapists begin almost immediately after surgery to hasten the recovery from surgery. Mobilization starts in the hospital, usually extends to a home setting and into an out-patient clinic. Therapy helps to reduce scar tissue and improve range of motion. Early intervention and a proper treatment plan will significantly reduce post-operative recovery time.
- Fall prevention. Many Seniors have a risk of suffering a fall. Most falls occur in the home and are the number one cause of hospital visits by Seniors. Falls are preventable. Poor balance and shuffling their feet cause most falls. Working with a physiotherapist on strength and balance helps to correct the underlying causes of falls.
- Stroke recovery. Strokes are all too common. Strokes affect thousands of people every year. Strokes are brain injuries, and no two strokes are the same. Physiotherapists work almost immediately at the hospital to begin the work of restoring motion. Therapy may continue at home and in a clinic setting. Physiotherapists help to restore neural pathways damaged by the stroke. They assist in improving coordination, strength and range of motion in the affected limbs.
- Pre-natal, post-natal help. Our pelvic floor muscles are essential to many of our internal organs functioning properly. Weak pelvic muscles may lead to incontinence, urinary leaking and constipation. Pregnancy and birth place tremendous strain on pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor physiotherapists work to restore muscle strength in these muscles.
- Recovery from an Acquired Brain Injury. Brain injuries are life-altering. Injuries to the brain vary in severity and the effects that they cause. Physios work with clients to rework neural pathways that were damaged. Brains are changeable, and physiotherapists guide clients to rediscover movement patterns lost with the injury.
- Greater strength. Strength is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Physiotherapists work to get people stronger. A strong core helps to eliminate back, neck and shoulder pain. Strong legs assist Seniors in avoiding dangerous falls and are associated with living a long life.
- They improve athletic performance. Elite athletes rely on their physiotherapists to ready their bodies for optimal physical performance. Stretching, massaging and going through range of motion exercises help to tune the athlete for competition finely. Most elite athletes rely heavily on physiotherapy to achieve their best.
- It helps to avoid surgery. Surgery is an invasive procedure, and staying away from the scalpel is preferable. Not all surgeries are avoidable. Knees, hips, shoulders and back are just some of the areas of the body that respond well to physiotherapy as opposed to surgery. Surgeries that target arthritis, degenerate hips and knees, shoulder inflammation and lower back are examples. There is no guarantee that you can avoid surgery. Delaying surgery is possible as well, along with strengthening the affected area before surgery. The stronger you go into surgery, the quicker the recovery.
- They help Seniors to stay active and independent. Baby boomers have reached retirement age, and most would like to remain in their homes. Quality of life is paramount, and working with a physiotherapist in their later years improves their lives and reduces the burden on our healthcare system.
- Physiotherapy to manage chronic conditions. Chronic conditions and the pain associated with them are ideally suited for physiotherapy. Chronic conditions require specialized care, pain management, emotional support and assistance with daily life. Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Diabetes and Cancer, and many others require expert care. Physiotherapists help to maintain and improve the physical well-being of those suffering from chronic ailments.
6 Tips on Finding The Right Physiotherapist For You
We all know that finding products and services is remarkably easy in today’s world. We also know that finding the right product or service is exceptionally difficult. Mechanics, hairdressers, accountants, renovators are simply a google click away. Finding the right mechanic, hairdresser, etc., is often quite tricky, and sometimes we go through a number of them before we find the right one for our needs.
Physiotherapy is no different. While all physiotherapists have passed the rigorous schooling and certification exams, not all physios treat the same way. You deserve the best quality care available, and here are five must-have checks to gauge your physiotherapist.
- Did your physiotherapist take the time to assess your condition fully? Even if you show up for your first appointment with x-rays and notes from your Doctor, a physiotherapist should take the time to evaluate your situation thoroughly. Here at Bergin Motion, most of our initial assessments are one hour in duration.
- Did your physiotherapist listen to your description of the problem that you are facing? Listening is everything. It’s your body and your life, and no one knows it better than you. Your therapist should take the time to listen carefully to your explanation.
- Did your physiotherapist explain their findings to you in a manner that you understand? A full explanation of their assessment and your understanding is key to a proper working relationship between the therapist and the client.
- Did they explain their treatment plan? Client buy-in on a recovery path is an essential factor in a successful outcome. Was the treatment plan presented and agreed upon by you?
- Does your physiotherapist dedicate their entire time to you? Many physios treat more than one client at a time. If this is the case for you, it is time to find a different physiotherapist.
- Do you feel you are plateauing in your progress? Improvement with your recovery is not always linear. Yet, it would be best if you were progressing towards your goals over time. Every injury is different, as is every recovery. If you feel that you are just not improving, it’s time to look elsewhere.
How is the customer service? Are you enjoying your time at the clinic you have chosen? Is everyone friendly to you? Therapy is time consuming and tedious, and if the people around you are bringing you down, this is not the right situation for you. We take great pride in being nice; it’s a simple thing yet vitally important to our clients.
Physiotherapist vs. Chiropractor How Do You Choose?
How do you know whether to go to a physiotherapist or a chiropractor? Is one better than the other? Do they treat the same? What are the key differences?
- Chiropractors require a minimum of seven years of University education. A physiotherapist requires six years of University training.
- Both professions believe that manual therapy is a better alternative to medication and surgery.
- Physiotherapists and chiropractors practice a holistic approach to medication.
- Both professions assess the client before treatment.
- Both disciplines consult with their clients on the medical history and steps they have taken on their own.
- Manual therapy is the preferred modality in both practices.
- Both professions will explain the proposed treatment plan and outline the expected results.
- Both disciplines believe patient education is a crucial aspect of a wellness program.
- Both are licensed professionals in Canada and provincially.
- Physiotherapists and chiropractors both have regulatory bodies that maintain a high standard for their respective professions. This high standard benefits clients and ensures a high standard of care.
- Both treat many of the same conditions.
- Physiotherapists treat a broader range of clients and conditions.
- The chiropractor’s focus is on the spine and limbs.
- Physiotherapists use mobilization of the joints, muscles and limbs,
- Chiropractors use manipulation of the spine and limbs.
- Physiotherapy focuses on the movement, balance and functionality of the body.
- Chiropractors focus on the spine and the issues that arise from an incorrect spinal alignment.
Physiotherapy and chiropractic have many similarities and a few key differences. The critical question is, how do you choose the right practitioner for your particular condition. Here is a quick checklist that will help you decide.
It would help if you chose a chiropractor for the following conditions.
- Misaligned spine.
- Leg pain as a result of a misaligned spine.
- Nerve pain, headaches and neck pain associated with spinal curvature.
Chose a physiotherapist if your condition is:
- Movement related.
- Pain in the muscles or joints.
- Range of motion loss in joints or muscles.
- Balance and gait issues.
- Chronic pain.
- An acquired brain injury.
These recommendations are not a complete analysis of these two professions. We recommend a consultation with either a physiotherapist or chiropractor to further your understanding. It is prudent to take into account your particular benefit package available to you. Other factors to consider are availability, cost, personal references and travel time.
Utilizing both professions in a multi-disciplinary clinic setting is often time beneficial. Two or more clinicians working as a team is the preferred treatment method here at Bergin Motion in Barrie, Ontario.
Physiotherapy vs. Osteopath
Physiotherapy and Osteopathy are very similar, and this similarity creates confusion for the consumer. What are the similarities and differences between these two professions? These two professionals are so kindred that post-graduate courses often have both disciplines represented.
- Both disciplines utilize manual therapy as a primary means of treatment.
- Both disciplines incorporate a holistic approach to the condition.
- Both believe that the best treatment is without invasive techniques such as medication and surgery.
- In Canada, both disciplines require a University undergraduate degree before commencing their graduate studies.
- Physiotherapy aligns closer with western medical practices.
- Osteopathy believes the body is its own best medicine cabinet.
- Physiotherapy focuses on the body’s ability to move.
- Osteopathy treats the body as a whole, with each system integrated into a cohesive structure.
- Treatments with an Osteopath tend to take longer than physio sessions.
What is the critical takeaway to help you determine what discipline is best for you? If you want to move better, choose a physiotherapist. If you feel you have underlying conditions that have caused pain, then seek out an Osteopath.
There are many considerations when choosing a healthcare practitioner. Non-medical factors such as your benefits package, location of the service, cost and availability are some factors to consider.