What is Physiotherapy



Physiotherapy is a leading, evidence based health care profession that treats a variety of injuries and illnesses and improves your overall health and wellbeing. Physiotherapists or physical therapists, are primary healthcare providers, meaning they are able to assess and treat a person without the need for a referral. They are a regulated profession under the health professions act and the use of the term physiotherapist and physical therapist are protected titles under BC law.

Physiotherapists are your partner in evaluating and restoring strength, endurance, movement and physical abilities affected by injury, disease, or disability. A physiotherapist works closely with your physician to help you manage and prevent many physical problems caused by sport, illness, disease, work, aging, and long periods of inactivity.

Physiotherapy in Canada is a university Masters program requiring a minimum of six years of university training before being able to practice as a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists then continue with post graduate studies in a number of different fields that allow a physiotherapist to advance their expertise in a number of different areas. Some of these areas include:


Sprains, strains, tears, and overuse injuries are a common plague in all sports. Physiotherapy treatment includes education, sport specific exercises, taping, electrotherapy, and manual therapy, to ensure the professional and casual athlete can get back in the game as soon as possible, without risking further injury.


The most problems seen here are low back pain, neck, knee and shoulder injuries. This specialty treats any muscle, tendon, ligament, joint or nerve problems. An orthopaedic or manual therapist can help reduce pain and restore strength and function.


Prehab is a proactive approach to avoiding future problems later down the road. Your physiotherapist will perform a biomechanical assessment to determine what may be a risk factor for future injuries. Treatment involves building strength and stability around certain areas, whilst improving mobility, balance and joint function to decrease the potential for injuries.


Specially trained physiotherapists assist in recovery from hand injury or disease using exercise, manual therapy, and splinting techniques to promote optimal hand function.


Physiotherapists help people with arthritis, heart disease, stroke, or problems getting around by helping joints stay flexible, improving balance, preventing falls and helping manage pain and chronic conditions.


Physiotherapists play a vital role in diagnosing and treating orthopaedic, neurological and respiratory conditions that can impact childhood development such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis and developmental delays.


Physiotherapists can prescribe exercise programs to help prepare your body for pregnancy, as well as keep you fit before the birth of your child. Low back and pelvic pain is a common complaint during pregnancy and there are a number of ways that you can reduce the pain. This can include; manual therapy, specific exercises, massage, TENS and bracing.

Pelvic Health physiotherapists can also guide your preparation for delivery by assessing the readiness of your pelvic floor for delivery, as well as discuss optimal positions for labour and mechanics for pushing. Following your child’s arrival, they will help guide the initial weeks of your recovery, as well as assess your body’s readiness to return to exercise. They can prescribe safe exercises and activities appropriate for your transition back to your pre-pregnancy self.


Stroke, spinal cord and brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s and other nervous system conditions all respond to specialized techniques which help people re-learn motor skills and improve movement control, strength and function.


Encompasses specialized training within physiotherapy to address conditions related to bladder and bowel function, as well as sexual health. Through a thorough verbal history and physical examination your Pelvic Health physiotherapist can help determine the best course of treatment. This may include, but is not limited to, muscle re-education, muscle stimulation, biofeedback, bladder retraining and general orthopaedic care. Common conditions addressed include urinary or faecal incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and sexual pain. Although women may be more aware of pelvic floor dysfunction, men may also benefit form this therapy following prostate surgery to regain a functional pelvic floor.

If attending a Pelvic Health assessment, a vaginal or rectal digital internal exam may be discussed with you if deemed appropriate. If the patient consents, then it will be completed in a private closed-door room. You will always have to right to refuse such examination(s), and can revoke consent at any time during the examination if necessary.


Physiotherapists with this training assess and treat a variety of dizziness and balance problems, the most common of these being vertigo due to inner ear crystal displacement known as BPPV (benign paroxysmal postural vertigo).