What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a form of health care that uses physical approaches (ie. stretching, strengthening, hands-on techniques, taping, etc.), education, and modalities (ie. heat, ultrasound, etc.) to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking account all variations in health status.
Physiotherapists use many tools both in the assessment and treatment of injured individuals. The skill of a physiotherapist lies in his/her ability to assess or examine an individual’s physical limitations, plan a suitable course of action to return this individual to his/her highest level of function, and to implement that plan using a variety of techniques that he/she has been specifically trained to provide.
This could involve a combination of activities including: hands-on treatment, specific exercise instruction to address muscle imbalances and joint problems, and a wide variety of other techniques. Additionally, education to the client is always provided in order to assist the individual in understanding their condition and preventing it from re-occurring.
Physiotherapists encourage ongoing preventative self-help techniques and provide patients with helpful information, tips and techniques to use in their home and work environment in order to decrease the likelihood of returning to the physiotherapy clinic.
Who is qualified to provide Physiotherapy?
In the province of Ontario, in order to provide physiotherapy, one must hold a degree in physiotherapy (an educational field that is highly competitive and in high demand) and be registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. Training usually involves a total of five to seven years (including preparatory courses pre-physiotherapy) at a recognized university, during which time physiotherapists are educated in the basic health sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, and are taught specific physiotherapy assessment and treatment techniques.
Upon completing a physiotherapy program, the graduate in physiotherapy possesses the skills necessary in identifying physical limitations and planning suitable recovery programs for individuals with physical limitations.
How are Physiotherapists Regulated / Licensed?
Each province in Canada has a licensing body most commonly called the College of Physiotherapists. This is the body that develops and enforces the regulations that govern the profession. The Colleges of Physiotherapists have jurisdiction only over physiotherapists (ie. those with a degree in physiotherapy) but do not regulate the practices of non-physiotherapists claiming to provide physiotherapy.
At Queen West Physiotherapy & Acupuncture, all physiotherapists are registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. If you are planning to have physiotherapy, please ensure that you are receiving treatment from a Registered Physiotherapist.
What to Expect in a Physiotherapy Assessment?
The physiotherapist begins an assessment with a series of questions pertaining to the reason you made the visit. This could include questions regarding the onset and severity of symptoms and the possible causes of the condition. Additionally, a thorough screening of medical history relevant to this condition is conducted before the physical examination takes place.
During the physical assessment, observation of posture, movement and any abnormalities is made along with palpation (feeling of) of possible structures involved. Often, reflexes, sensation and strength are also tested as well as balance occasionally.
The related joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves are tested and an overall assessment (conclusion) of the problem is made. Based on this, a plan of treatment is created and the patient is educated regarding his/her condition. Frequency of treatment will be discussed and advice regarding activities will be provided. Throughout a patient’s treatment, an ongoing re-assessment of symptoms and movement will be made; this will enable the physiotherapist to engage in discharge planning appropriately.
Please call us for a physiotherapy assessment today.