In most cases, your physiotherapist will give you exercises for you to do on your own in between your physiotherapy sessions. However, your physiotherapy sessions are important to assess your progress constantly. One of the most common mistakes people make is to refrain from doing their exercises because they either no longer have pain or see little improvement.

It’s understandable that if we are in pain, we want to be cured right away. Many people seek out remedies that offer quick relief, and many people turn to medications that promise to eliminate your pain. These cures merely mask the pain and often force us into a continuing cycle of pain and drug use. Physiotherapy goes to the core underlying cause of your pain. Physiotherapy seeks a long-term solution to reducing pain naturally and permanently. However, in some cases, a physiotherapist can offer immediate relief from pain.

The list of treatments that a physiotherapist can treat is almost endless. Here is just a small list of conditions and ailments that physiotherapy can benefit.

Neurological; acquired brain injuries, concussions, Parkinsons, muscular schlerosis, spinal cord injuries, stroke survivors.

Musculoskeletal; Back, neck, shoulder, knee.

Repetitive strain; Carpal tunnel, tendinitis, tennis and golfer’s elbow.

Postoperative; Total knee replacement, total hip replacement, back surgery, heart surgery.

Pediatric; Movement disorders, developmental delays, mucular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, patellofemoral syndrome.

Sports injuries; ACL, MCL, knee, back, concussions.

Women’s health; Pregnancy issues, urinary incontinence and lymphedema.

Physiotherapists treat a wide variety of issues. Some physiotherapists specialize in certain areas while others see a broad range of conditions. Knee, back, shoulder and neck soreness remain the most common treatments that a physiotherapist will see. Physiotherapists also work with stroke survivors, acquired brain injuries, post-operative orthopedic patients and sports injuries.

Every situation is different. Some clients need no more than two or three visits to a physiotherapist. However, some clients such as stroke patients or those who have an acquired brain injury may see a physiotherapist for some years. The goal of every physiotherapist should be to eliminate the need for a client to see them. This means they need to provide professional and effective treatment that ensures a long-term solution to a client’s problem.

Pain is a defence mechanism that our bodies use to restrict motion and alert us to a problem. Physiotherapy cannot eliminate all pain related problems. Sometimes surgery or other medical interventions are necessary. However, in the vast majority of situations, physiotherapy can help to eliminate pain permanently. Physiotherapists will guide clients in steps they can take to stay pain-free in the future by altering the patterns and motions that originally caused the pain.

Physiotherapy is not like a personal trainer. Physiotherapists have six years of schooling and a lifetime of continuing education. They are experts in movement and function as it relates to specific medical conditions. Personal trainers have a much less rigorous educational requirement, usually just a certificate. They focus on overall strength and conditioning not how it relates to a specific medical condition. Personal trainers often work with a physiotherapist, under their guidance to supplement the treatments of a physiotherapist.

Physiotherapy is designed to treat you as an individual. A full assessment of your condition will take place on your first appointment. The physio will do a physical assessment that will include tests on strength, your range of motion, balance and restrictions. The physiotherapist will also review all relevant medical reports. Together with the client, the physiotherapist will set realistic and achievable goals. Your physio will begin by making a full treatment plan for your rehabilitation program and make a schedule of appointments.

Physiotherapy shouldn’t hurt and is completely safe. Physiotherapy often activates deep tissue, and it’s quite possible that there will be some soreness after a treatment session. Stretching and deep tissue work will often cause temporary soreness. It’s important to note that sometimes getting better requires some hard work.

You no longer need a doctor’s referral before seeing a physiotherapist. It is possible that your insurance company may require you to see a physician and obtain a referral before seeing a physio. However, in the majority of cases, people are free to book an appointment directly without a note from their doctor.

It’s important to understand that physiotherapists dedicate their lives to the reduction of pain and the restoration of movement. The profession of physiotherapists pride themselves on basing their treatments on scientific, evidence-based practices. Physiotherapy is highly effective in treating a wide range of conditions without the use of invasive techniques or harmful pharmaceuticals.

Physiotherapists are an important component in rehabilitation, treatment and prevention of acute and chronic conditions.  A physiotherapist uses a wide range of modalities to treat. Treatment can include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and mechanical devices like ultrasound and tens machines.

If you are not quite sure what a physiotherapist does and how they can help you, then you are not alone. Unless you have previously been to a physiotherapist, there is a good chance that you might not know exactly what is a physiotherapist and what do they do. A physiotherapist is a health care professional that promotes movement, helps ease pain and restore function. They assess a client’s condition and develop a treatment plan unique to that individual. According to the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, the official description of a physiotherapist is, “The heart of the physiotherapy profession understands how and why movement and function take place. Physiotherapists are highly skilled and autonomous health care professionals who provide safe quality client-centred physiotherapy through a commitment to service availability, accessibility and excellence.”  A physiotherapist works with people of all ages and treats a vast amount of health conditions.