Physiotherapy is a health care practice that aims to restore healthy movement and function of the human body. At Back to Health Wellness Centre, we offer comprehensive physiotherapist services for a wide range of conditions in the Centretown area of Ottawa. Our clinicians provide one-on-one individualized assessments and treatment plans to ensure that your pain or injury is diagnosed and prioritized throughout your rehab journey.

Our physiotherapist focuses on the body’s neuroanatomy to examine the system as a whole rather than joint per joint. Our physiotherapist will treat a wide range of patient populations from youth to geriatrics, for an even wider range of conditions, including stroke, neuromuscular conditions, cardiac, respiratory patients, paediatric, muscular/skeletal/nerve issues, TMJ pain, vertigo, pelvic health complaints and sports related injuries.

Education and Qualifications

After the completion of an undergraduate degree, the student applies to physiotherapy school. In a 2 year program, a physiotherapist completes 1,125 hours in clinical placements. Upon completion of the physiotherapy program, all therapists must successfully complete the Physiotherapy Competency Examination to practice as a physiotherapist in Canada.

For more information, please visit the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

What can a Physiotherapist Treat?

The scope of a physiotherapist is very wide and diverse. Our physiotherapist is qualified to treat these conditions and much more:

  • Ankle pain
  • Back pain
  • Benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV)
  • Chronic pain, including conditions such as fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome
  • Dislocations of any kind
  • Fractures
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Jaw pain and stiffness, including TMJ
  • Neck pain, including cervico-genic
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Post-stroke changes
  • Post-surgical pain
  • Postural stiffness
  • Shoulder pain and injuries, including frozen shoulder
  • SI joint pain
  • Some autoimmune disorders
  • Sprains and strains
  • Stenosis
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Whiplash
  • …and much more!

Check out this article for a more in depth look at when you should see a physiotherapist!

What to expect when you see a Physiotherapist

There are many components of Physiotherapy.

1. Assessing your Symptoms

At your first visit, you and your physiotherapist will begin the conversation by discussing your medical history, as well as current pain or movement problem. This is exceptionally important, as it sets the foundation for your assessment, and what your physiotherapist can begin to look for. Next, you will perform a series of movements, muscle tests, and activities to thoroughly examine your joints’ range of motion, your movement capacity, your discomfort or pain levels, and ultimately your body’s patterns and motor control. Sometimes, there will be positions or movements that may provoke pain, but this is normal and especially helpful in targeting its origin and how to begin your treatment.

2. Planning your treatment

Next comes education! This is perhaps the most valuable tool in seeing a physiotherapist. You and your physiotherapist will take the time to discuss your findings, your strengths, your movement patterns, and where to start treatment based on these results. There can be a lot of information to take in at your first visit, which is why creating a plan for treatment will help keep you informed, and your treatment stay on track.

Your physiotherapist may give you advice on some things you can change immediately: your posture, your desk or car seat, your footwear or even sleeping postures. Other parts of your treatment will include a detailed and individualized home exercise plan that will be demonstrated and practiced with your physiotherapist to ensure it is safe and right for you.

Physiotherapy is about what you put into it, not what you get out of it. If your treatment goals are to improve strength, balance, or range of motion, your physiotherapist will give you the tools to work on those qualities on your own.

3. Treating your condition

Once a treatment program has been established, your physiotherapist plays a role in rehab too. Your physiotherapist may use hands-on techniques to manipulate soft tissues such as muscle, tendons and fascia, which has been proven to decreased pain levels in the body. There are lots of tools physiotherapists hold in their clinical ‘tool belt’, including muscle testing, soft tissue release, the use of pain modalities, and so much more. If your goals include range of motion, your physiotherapist may use unique assistive stretching techniques, which will allow you to work together towards your goals. If your goals include strength improvements, your physiotherapist will take the time to practice your exercises and ensure that your system is responding well to those loads, and will explain how to safely progress to more challenging exercises together.

4. Continually evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, and progress/adjust the plan as able or necessary

Physiotherapists are expertly trained to track progress and make re-assessments, ensuring your success throughout the program. This progress is most successful when both team members do their part, both in treatment sessions and at home. Your physiotherapist may ask you to perform some of the initial testing done at a later date to see if your pain has improved. When your pain is persisting or perhaps your condition has changed, your physiotherapist is equipped to make modifications to adapt the treatment plan along the way.

5. Develop long-term management skills or strategies to prevent any recurring issues

Physiotherapy does not end once your pain or condition is well under control; many types of injuries or pain may require maintenance. Your physiotherapist will educate you on proper maintenance both throughout treatments and especially as your symptoms improve. Long-term injury prevention may include lasting changes to your warm-up or cool-down when you exercise, the types of exercises you will continue to do at home, or even a follow-up appointment down the road.

Lastly, involving other health care professionals in your care has been shown to have greater success rates in the long term. Your physiotherapist may want to involve other members of the rehab team, such as your family doctor, your massage therapist, or your chiropractor. This collaborative care model ensures the most optimal route back to feeling good and achieving your goals.