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  • Writer's pictureAmy Dougley

5 Things to Know Before seeing a Physiotherapist

1. Not all Physiotherapists are the same.

Just like other health care providers, Physiotherapists may differ in their approach to caring for patients. The biggest difference you will notice when attending a physiotherapy clinic, is whether or not the treatments are performed by a registered physiotherapist or by their assistant. Although there is nothing wrong with either approach, some people prefer to work with the same person each time they visit the office, in a private setting. If you are thinking about visiting a physiotherapist and you want a one-on-one approach, then it is important to ask if they perform their treatments in this manner.

The other main difference amongst physiotherapists is in their technique. Every Physiotherapist is required to hold a certificate of registration that proves they have passed the necessary exams and are legally able to practice in Ontario, however, they are able to learn various techniques outside of school and many choose to do so. Some Physiotherapists perform acupuncture, cupping, taping, manual therapy, etc. These techniques are all useful in certain situations and it is the physiotherapists job to determine the best approach for their patients based on a thorough assessment.

2. You do not need a doctor referral or diagnosis to be seen by a physiotherapist.

In Ontario, you do not need a doctors referral to seek the help of a physiotherapist, if you feel you could benefit from their services, then you can call and see one at any time. Often times, your doctor will refer you to see a physiotherapist, if he or she feels it is necessary, but if you want to skip that step and find a physiotherapist, you can call one today.

Although you do not need an diagnosis to visit a physiotherapist, if you have had an Ultrasound or x-ray recently, they might want to see the results of those tests, as this can impact their treatment approach.

A physiotherapist will make their own diagnoses based on the testing and exam procedures they perform in the office. This should include, but is not limited to testing: range of motion, performing various orthopedic and neurological tests, as well as palpating (feeling) the affected area. Some physiotherapists might also use different gadgets or devices to assess their patients, which can provide valuable data that is used to diagnose.

During the treatment plan, a physiotherapist will also reassess, and compare that to their original findings. This is the evidence needed to see whether or not their approach is working, and is used to change treatment strategies and approaches if necessary.

3. They can help with a wide variety of ailments.

People will often wonder whether or not they need a physiotherapist. The short answer is, if it hurts or feels stiff, a physiotherapist can most likely help. People will also seek the help of a physiotherapist if they are tired of popping pain pills or if their doctor hasn't given them the answers they were looking for.

Physiotherapy can also be used to improve upon and maintain mobility. This is especially important as we age, and many physiotherapy offices are full of patients who are getting their joints and muscles worked on in order to stay active and healthy. This approach helps them stay out of pain and allows them to continue doing what they love. Whether that is golfing, picking up grand children, or just getting a good night's sleep, physiotherapy can have many benefits.

4. A proper care schedule and explanation of reasonable goals should be discussed.

It sounds simple, but anyone who sees a Physiotherapist should fully understand what the problem is, what can be done about it, and what the plan of action is. In some cases, a Physiotherapist might even discuss what CANNOT be done, but either way, the patient should fully understand the scope of the problem and prognosis.

Cost of care and how long the plan care will last should also be discussed. This will give the patient time to consider their options, and figure out budgets or insurances that can cover the cost of the services.

You don't want to just throw money at expensive treatments if you don't think it will help. You also don't want to have too many services at once for the same issue, as you might not know what is working and what is not working. You see, some physiotherapy offices also offer, chiropractic and massage. If the physiotherapist recommends all three, with no reasonable explanation, then you might be wasting your time money and or insurance on unnecessary services. However, there are some instances where multiple services are needed, and it is a good idea to attend an office that offers chiropractic and massage in addition to physiotherapy, that way if it is necessary, you only need to attend one clinic, and the practitioners can discuss your case amongst each other easily. This often leads to better outcomes of care, especially with more complex cases or motor vehicle accident injuries.

5. If you stick to the care plan, you will more than likely experience great results while avoiding pain pills or surgery.

At the end of the day, everyone just wants to be out of pain so that they can enjoy their life, stay out of their doctor's office and not have to rely on pain pills. That is what physiotherapy is for. It is a natural, non-invasive service that can help people experience relief from pain and stiffness and experience more range of motion, making their lives more enjoyable and easier to manage.

However, if you don't stick to the recommended care plan, it can de-rail progress and the problem can return when you least expect it. Sometimes, once the pain is gone, more care is still required to fully correct the problem, giving it a chance to heal properly. If this is allowed to happen then the problem is unlikely to ever return.

Physiotherapists are everywhere in Brantford. It is important to find the right one who is going to examine you thoroughly, explain the problem in terms you can understand, present a reasonable care plan that you agree to, and follow up to make sure the treatments are working.

We hope you found this information helpful. If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment at our office, please call 519-751-0728.

Stay healthy!

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