Frequently Asked Questions about Physiotherapy

1. What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a regulated health profession that plays a unique and vital role in our health care system. Physiotherapists work with individuals of all ages to minimize limitations and barriers to physical function. As experts in their field, Physiotherapists specialize in eliminating and/or managing pain and the physical limitations that arise from a wide variety of common injuries and conditions. These include:

  • Acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Spinal conditions
  • Nerve impingements
  • Chronic pain
  • Postural dysfunction
  • Neurological injury or conditions such as an Acquired Brain Injury, stroke


Physiotherapy is available through private clinics and is included under most extended health benefit plans.


2. What does a physiotherapy initial assessment involve?

At your first visit, a full assessment of your physical injury, condition or concern will be conducted. This will generally include but is not limited to:

  • A detailed history of your health and injury
  • Functional limitations
  • Gait assessment, if applicable
  • Pain and movement patterns
  • Muscle strength
  • Joint range of motion (active and passive)
  • Nerve mobility tests
  • Relevant X-ray and imaging report perusal, if applicable


At Pro Physio, we always make sure to save time during the initial visit to provide you with some form of treatment, be it hands-on techniques, exercise instruction or education on the “do’s and don’ts” for symptom management.


3. What does a physiotherapy treatment involve?

A typical physiotherapy treatment plan can range from days to weeks in length, or could be longer (often with less frequent visits), depending on the chronicity of the issue and the nature of the treatment program. Your Physiotherapist will determine how often you should be seen for treatment and will not have you come in for physiotherapy any longer than is necessary for your recovery.


Treatment techniques that may be used include:

  • Manual therapy, including joint and soft tissue mobilization or joint manipulation
  • Exercise demonstration and home exercise programming
  • Education on your condition, self-management, and the do’s and don’ts of managing your symptoms
  • Electrical modalities
  • Integrated dry needling
  • Acupuncture
  • Ultrasound
  • Return to work/sport/activity planning
  • Gait analysis for optimal patterning
  • Balance and co-ordination re-training


At Pro Physio, it is our priority to ensure that our patients understand the root cause of their symptoms or disability in order to increase their awareness of their condition and what they can do to manage it. Education is critical to ensure our patients have been given the tools to avoid future injury, prevent recurrence and promote long-term solutions for symptom management.


4. What should I wear to the initial assessment and subsequent treatment sessions?

As Physiotherapists, we are trained to observe. It is very important during the assessment and treatment that we are able to see the area of concern. Generally, this means that a sleeveless shirt would be of assistance for upper body injuries including the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. For lower body injuries or conditions, a pair of shorts would be optimal. Please dress comfortably based on the need to be able to move without the restriction of your clothing during your appointments. We will ensure that your privacy will be respected during these appointments.


5. What is dry needling (DN)?

“Dry needling (DN) is a skilled intervention used by physical therapists using a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues for the management of neuromuscular pain and movement impairments. A trigger point describes a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch and can refer pain to distant parts of the body. Physical therapists utilize dry needling with the goal of releasing/inactivating the trigger points and relieving pain.” (APTA 2012)


At Pro Physio, many Physiotherapists are certified and trained to perform dry needling as a treatment option in the management of your pain and movement limitations related to myofascial (muscle and its sheath of connective tissue) trigger points found in taut bands of muscles. Your Physiotherapist will identify whether or not your injury may respond well to such treatment, and following discussion and informed consent, may use the technique to assist in the management of your pain and dysfunction.


6. How does acupuncture fit in?

Clinical studies have supported a role for acupuncture in Western medicine and rehabilitation. Registered Physiotherapists who have been specially trained and certified can incorporate acupuncture into their treatment sessions with the following therapeutic goals:

  • To decrease pain
  • To decrease inflammation
  • To promote tissue healing and regeneration
  • To restore optimal nerve and muscle function


Upon assessment of your needs, your Physiotherapist will determine if you may be a good candidate for the use of acupuncture in improving your physical condition. The goals of its use – as well as a discussion surrounding the effects, possible side-effects and precautions – will be provided during your session. With your informed consent, acupuncture can be incorporated into your physiotherapy treatment sessions at no additional cost.


7. Do I need a doctor’s referral?

As Physiotherapists are considered primary health care providers, you do not need a referral from your doctor prior to attending physiotherapy. However, some insurance companies do require a referral from your physician in order for you to be reimbursed for expenses.


8. Will you contact my doctor to discuss your findings?

With your consent, your Physiotherapist will discuss their clinical findings with your family physician and/or other members of your health care team.


9. I was referred to another physiotherapy clinic by my family physician. Am I able to attend your clinic instead?

Yes, you can receive physiotherapy at any clinic of your choosing. However, you should ensure that the person delivering your care is a Physiotherapist registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.


10. Do you treat people with auto insurance claims?

Yes, we would be happy to be your physiotherapy provider. We are able to bill your auto insurance provider directly for your treatment. Please contact the clinic for further details.

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