Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a health care practice that aims to restore healthy movement and function of the human body. At Back to Health, your physiotherapist works as a team with you and your other health care providers.  We offer comprehensive physiotherapist services for orthopaedic conditions in Centre Town, Ottawa. Our clinicians provide one-on-one individualized assessment and treatment sessions to ensure that your pain or injury is proficiently diagnosed, and prioritized throughout your rehab journey.

The physiotherapist at Back to Health focuses on the body’s neuroanatomy to examine the system as a whole rather than joint per joint. Physiotherapists are able to treat a wide range of patient populations including stroke, neuromuscular conditions, geriatric, cardiac, respiratory patients, paediatric, muscular/skeletal/nerve issues, 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.

At Back to Health, the physiotherapist has additional qualifications including:

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 by discussing your medical history, current pain or movement problem, and allow for a conversation to begin. This is exceptionally important, as it sets the foundation for where the assessment will lead, 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/ 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 treating it.

2. Planning your treatment

Next comes education! This is perhaps the most valuable tool in seeing a physiotherapist. You and your physio will take time to discuss your findings, your strengths, your movement patterns, and where to start treating from there. There can be a lot of information to take in at your first visit, which is why creating a plan for treatment will help to keep you informed, and for your treatment to 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 treatment will include a detailed and individualize home exercise plan, that will be demonstrated and practiced with your physio to ensure it is safe and right for you.

Physiotherapy is about what you put into in, not what you get out of it. For example, if your treatment goals are to improve strength, balance, or range of motion, your physio will give you to tools to work on those qualities on your own. The more you put into your rehab, the more you will take out of it.

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 the 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’, and some of those include, Acupuncture, Functional Dry Needling, Muscle testing, Soft Tissue Release, the use of Pain Modalities , any many others. If your goals include range of motion, your physiotherapist may use unique assistive stretching techniques, which will allow for you both to work together towards your goals. If your goals include strength improvements, your physiotherapist will take time to practice your exercises and ensure that your system is responding well to those loads, and from there, how to safely progress to more challenging goals 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 part of ensuring your triumph through the program. This progress is most successful when both team members do their part, both in treatment sessions and at home. Your physio may ask you to perform some of the initial testing done at a later date, to get an idea if those objectives have improved. When your pain is persisting or perhaps your condition has changed, your physiotherapist is equipped to make those individual modifications to adapt the treatment plan along the way.

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

Once your pain or condition is well under control, sometimes the management doesn’t end there. Many types of injuries or pain may require some maintenance, which your physiotherapist will educate you on 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 thrive at, or even a follow-up appointment down the road.

Lastly, involving other health care professionals involved in your care has been shown to have great 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 involved in the conversation. This collaborative care model ensures the most optimal route back to feel good and achieving your goals.

When should you see a physiotherapist?

Check out this article to find out!

What can a Physiotherapist Treat?

The scope of an orthopaedic physiotherapist is very wide and diverse – From treating headaches, to fractures, there are countless ailments that a physio can treat. Here are just a few: cervico-genic neck pain, whiplash, TMJ (Jaw) problems, concussion, vertigo, headaches, shoulder pain, arthritis, low back pain, dislocations of any kind, pelvic floor pain, pre-natal/post-natal care, any kind of tendonitis, post-operative surgery pain, ankle sprain, varying degrees of fractures, balance impairments, numbness and tingling in the extremities, SI joint pain, stenosis, some autoimmune disorders, post-stroke changes, and the list goes on an on.

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

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