Having been a physiotherapist for a number of years, it is still surprising to me that many people don’t know what a physiotherapist does or have a false impression of what they do. Why is there all this confusion? First of all, it is true that the scopes of practice of many healthcare professionals (physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, osteopathy, etc) have some similarities and therefore assumptions are made that all these professionals are the same. Could it also be that through word of mouth, an acquaintance had a bad experience with a physiotherapist thus causing a bad impression in the minds of others? Regardless of the reason, let’s breakdown what a physiotherapist is and how they can be helpful.
A physiotherapist is a university trained, primary health care professional with a vast knowledge of how the human body works. All physiotherapy programs offered in Canada have now been converted from a Bachelor program (Undergraduate) to a Master’s level (Graduate) program. Physiotherapists are considered primary health care professionals because they are regulated and people can access their services directly without needing a referral from a medical doctor. Physiotherapists use their knowledge of anatomy and physiology, in addition to specialized hands-on clinical skills, to assess, diagnose and provide treatment to help restore movement and function in their clients as well as relieving pain.
Physiotherapists can be of great benefit to individuals of all ages and abilities. They can assist people by preventing and treating sports injuries, restoring range of motion in joints, increasing strength, coordination and balance, or just settling the aches and pains after a weekend of increased activity. If you are living with chronic pain or disability, recovering from a stroke or cardiac event, or dealing with a workplace or motor vehicle injury, physiotherapists can assist in the healing process with hands-on treatment techniques and education. Physiotherapists can also use physical modalities and prescribe exercises to help you in your recovery. They are able to prescribe assistive devices as well as help set up user friendly home and work environments. Physiotherapists have a varied skill set to assist clients in improving their function and decreasing their pain.
If you are still wondering if a physiotherapist can be of benefit to you, feel free to send us a message or comment to this post.