Physiotherapy: Health Promotion, Injury Recovery & Prevention
Who We Are:
May is National Physiotherapy Month. Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals that combine their extensive knowledge of the body and its mechanics, along with assessment of joint movements, strength, and flexibility in order to assess, diagnose and treat patients (1). Physiotherapists work to restore, maintain, and maximize people’s strength, function, well-being, and participation in the activities that you love.
All registered Physiotherapists that practice in Canada are qualified to provide safe and effective treatment. They have completed entry-level university education that has met national practice standards and have successfully completed a standardized physiotherapy competency exam prior to being registered (1).
What Does a Physiotherapist do?
Physiotherapists provide safe, client-centred physiotherapy through prevention or alleviation of movement dysfunctions that may be due to pain, an accident or injury, lock of physical activity, disease, or aging (2).
A Physiotherapist will assess you by taking a detailed history of your current concerns followed by physical tests and measurements, such as range of motion, flexibility, or strength. These findings with clinical reasoning help a physiotherapist develop their clinical diagnosis. Together, you and your physiotherapist will explore your functional limitations and needs so that they can develop a treatment plan to help you achieve YOUR goals (3).
How Does a Physiotherapist Treat?
Physiotherapists can utilize different exercises, specific hands-on techniques, or use of technology to help optimize your function and achieve your goals. These include (3):
- Education to provide you with the knowledge of what is affected and how can you help yourself get better.
- Personalized exercise programs to help improve strength, flexibility, and function.
- Mobilizations or manipulations to reduce pain and stiffness.
- Modalities (e.g. hot or cold packs, TENS, shockwave, acupuncture needles) to decrease pain, reduce swelling, and optimize healing.
- Pelvic floor re-training to help incontinence.
- Work and occupational re-training to help you get back to work.
- Prescription of supportive and protective devices and equipment (e.g. walking aids, braces, taping, etc.)
What Does a Physiotherapist Treat?
Physiotherapists have an extensive knowledge of anatomy, pathology, and healing. Physiotherapists are trained to treat a variety of different conditions:
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Disc Bulges
- Joint Replacement Rehabilitation
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Muscle Strains
- Plantar Fasciitis
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- TMJ Dysfunction
- Urinary Incontinence
- Workplace Related Injuries
Access to Physiotherapy:
Access to a physiotherapist in Nova Scotia is covered by the provincial healthcare system. However, depending on your condition, wait-times may vary to receive care.
In Nova Scotia, Physiotherapists are a primary healthcare provider – meaning no physician referral is required to access the service. Individuals can access private physiotherapy usually with no or minimal wait time and it is a common eligible benefit that many group health plans cover.
Not all insurance companies or group health plans are the same, you may be capped at a maximum amount per year or be required to submit a physician’s referral for reimbursement of physiotherapy services (2).
If you are suffering from a nagging injury, having troubles completing the things that you love to do. Don’t hesitate to consult with your Physiotherapist. They may have the answers to what you need.