Physiotherapy is the health care profession that focuses on physical health, mobility and freedom from pain. Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, receive specialized education in a variety of sciences –human anatomy, kinesiology (human movement), pathology to name a few – so they understand how the body works and how to get you moving again.
Physiotherapy benefits everyone, whether living with a chronic illness, recovering from an injury or training for a competition. Physiotherapy helps them all by managing pain, promoting healing, and preventing further injury. In short, physiotherapy gives you your life back!
But physiotherapy is not limited to treating injuries and diseases. Physiotherapy also provides education and advice for health, fitness and injury prevention. A physiotherapy assessment can identify potential problems – areas of tightness, weakness, or imbalance – and correct them before they lead to pain and injury. With an individualized physiotherapy exercise program you can maximize your full potential, whether your goal is to climb a mountain or to conquer a flight of stairs.
PHYSIOTHERAPY – NATURAL HEALTH CARE
Physiotherapy makes use of the body’s natural ability to heal, assisted by natural, drug-free treatments such as exercise, heat, ice, and acupuncture. But physiotherapy is not alternative medicine. Physiotherapists train alongside doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists in the Faculty of Medicine at major Canadian universities. In order to practice physiotherapy in Ontario, candidates must attend at least six years of university, graduate with a Master’s degree, write a national examination, and be licensed by the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, which sets and enforces standards of practice to protect the public.
Physiotherapy vs Physiotherapist
Beware the generic use of the term Physiotherapy. In Ontario, anybody can say they do physiotherapy – but only a Licensed Physiotherapist or Physical Therapist has the education, qualifications and licensing described above. Most insurance plans will cover physiotherapy only if it is provided by a Licensed Physiotherapist.
PHYSIOTHERAPY – WHAT TO EXPECT
When you see a physiotherapist, he or she will complete an extensive assessment that includes your health history, evaluation of pain and movement patterns, posture and alignment, strength, joint range of motion, reflexes and sensation. In addition, the physiotherapist examines relevant x-rays, laboratory tests, medical records and surgical notes. Based on this assessment the physiotherapist establishes a diagnosis and works in partnership with you to develop goals and treatment programs.
Physiotherapy treatment can include therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, acupuncture, electro-physical modalities such as ultrasound, and work or sport-specific coaching.