" Out of the several chiropractors I've seen, Dr. Bijman is definitely the best. He is very thorough in his approach and is very much a people person/easy to talk to. He truly cares about each individual and what's going on in their lives - he understands all realms of health, not just in the physical sense. Additionally, I used to have sharp pain in my neck and shoulders after sitting for long hours at my desk job - now I'm pain-free! Between Dr. Bijman and Dr. Matthew Tyler, the physiotherapist he referred me to, the treatment plan is working and I'm so grateful. I highly recommend him :) "
Physiotherapy can assist with many mild to severe health concerns, especially pain management and rehabilitation after an accident or surgical procedure.
In addition to the above scenarios, there are plenty of other reasons to go to physio, such as improving balance and posture, improving flexibility and mobility, preventing injury, managing a physical limitation, and alleviating localized pain.
Tips for Your First Physiotherapy Appointment
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting gym clothing that you can stretch and move around in.
- Expect to undergo an initial examination that can include any number of range of motion measurements, tests of strength, balance tests, functional mobility tests, and neurological screening tests.
- If you have health care benefits, bring your insurance card with you to your appointment.
- Many health care benefit packages cover a portion of medically required physiotherapy. Call your health insurance provider to see if you need a physician referral for reimbursement.
To learn more about how a physiotherapist can help you get back to living life without pain, come and see us at one of our convenient locations. We have two locations to best serve you. Our Victoria physiotherapists are here to help you achieve your health goals. Book your appointment through our online booking system or call (250) 590-7888. We are open 7 days a week!
Below is an overview of physiotherapy health care, including what it is and how you can get the most out of your sessions.
What is a Physiotherapist and What do they do?
A physiotherapist is a primary health care provider who practices rehab medicine without the use of drugs. They specialize in helping people with pain management and with restoring their health and well-being using physical methods like massage, stretching, hot and cold compresses, therapeutic exercise programs, and more. Note that the terms “physiotherapy” and “physical therapy” are used interchangeably but mean the same thing.
Physiotherapists have many years of training in knowing how the body works and work closely with their clients to present solutions that often work in tandem with solutions prescribed by other health care professionals.
How long does Physiotherapy Take?
Physiotherapy is intended to be effective over the course of multiple treatments rather than be a quick, one-day solution to a health concern. Sessions are often carried out over the course of a few weeks or a couple of months.
Unlike massage therapy, where a massage therapist may work with a patient throughout their life, physiotherapy is designed for people who require temporary, more targeted treatment.
Physiotherapy as Part of a Larger Picture
Physiotherapists often work closely with chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and additional health care practitioners to provide the most comprehensive care possible for clients.
For example, a person who has overexerted themselves in the garden, in the garage, or on the sports field might feel persistent pain in their lower back and decide to see a chiropractor.
After addressing the initial issues and adjusting the spine, a chiropractor may suggest a regime of physiotherapy that involves monitored therapeutic exercise programs, stretches, and more.
After a round of physiotherapy, that same client might be a good candidate for massage therapy so that they might prevent injury in the future.
Debunking Physiotherapy Myths
You might have heard some of the common myths about physiotherapists:
- “Physiotherapy takes too long.” Physiotherapy is designed to be a longer form of health care than most and must not be rushed. Otherwise, you run the risk of not healing properly, pushing yourself beyond your physical limits, and injuring yourself further, thus prolonging how long it will take to get back to feeling normal. In this sense, although the road can feel slow and long at times, physiotherapy can be faster than the alternative.
- “Physiotherapists aren’t real doctors.” In Canada, physiotherapists are regulated, primary health care providers who have completed a master’s degree in Physiotherapy (MscPT) at an accredited college or university. Physiotherapists have significant, complex knowledge of the human body and how everything functions together, and the clinical hands-on knowledge to diagnose and treat ailments. Many physiotherapists go on to specialize further in such areas as musculoskeletal, sports injuries, neurology, wound care, cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, orthopedics, or pediatrics.
- “Physiotherapists are only for athletes.” While professional sports teams have physiotherapists on their roster, physiotherapists certainly provide service to all demographics – from children and seniors to office workers, mechanics, athletes and everyone in between.
- “You need to be referred to a physiotherapist before they will see you.” General practitioners often recommend physiotherapy to their patients, but you do not need a referral to book a consultation with a physiotherapist directly.
Physiotherapy for Preventing Injury
If you overdid it at the gym, feel sore days after moving furniture, or are getting constant headaches after a day at the office, a physiotherapist can guide you through your rehabilitation while helping you regain your strength and understand what you can do to minimize the chances of a repeat injury in the future.
Physiotherapy for Better Posture
If you need help correcting your posture, a physiotherapist can show you therapeutic exercise programs for strengthening your postural muscles and suggest ways to improve whatever it might be that’s contributing to your poor posture – the number one culprit being a poorly set up work station at the office.
Physiotherapy for Broken Bones
When your broken bone is nearly healed, a physiotherapist can show you strength training exercises that can help you gain strength and mobility in that underused area of your body without straining anything.
Physiotherapy for Post Surgery
If you’re recovering from surgery, particularly one where your muscles may have atrophied, or one that has affected your mobility, such as knee surgery or a hip replacement, physiotherapy is often recommended as a follow-up treatment. A physiotherapist can prescribe stretches and therapeutic exercise programs as part of a post-surgical rehab program.
Physiotherapy for Sports Injuries
For sports-related injuries, physiotherapists can help athletes get safely back in the game through rehabilitation techniques. Physiotherapists are also specialized in determining the extent of the injury and recommending how long a player needs to rest and recover before they can get back out onto the field again.
Physiotherapy After Car Accidents
Physiotherapy is often recommended after the first few weeks or months after an accident, depending on the nature of the injury. Even mild injuries resulting from car accidents can sometimes become serious. Your physiotherapist can help diagnose and treat issues before they take a turn for the worse.
Physiotherapy for Seniors
Physiotherapy can be particularly useful for seniors to improve their strength, flexibility, and mobility as they age. Physiotherapists have several low-impact therapeutic exercise programs for active aging seniors, in addition to the many situations above.
Physiotherapy for Children & Youth
A physiotherapist can also assist children and youth, in many of the ways described above.
History of the Physiotherapy Profession
Although the techniques at the foundation of physiotherapy have been around thousands of years, physiotherapy as a recognized medical profession is believed to have gotten its earliest start in 1813 by Per Henrik Ling, the “Father of Swedish Gymnastics” and founder of the Royal Central Institute of Gymnastics. Physiotherapy in Canada grew to where it is today out of World War I, when nurses recognized the need to provide ongoing treatment to soldiers.
By the 1980s, physiotherapists began seeking their own colleges. In British Columbia, physical therapy became a designated health profession under the Health Professions Act on December 16, 1994
When Should You See a Physiotherapist in Victoria BC?
To recap, physiotherapists are often recommended for people who have already had their initial health concern addressed, and then need to have their healing process monitored and assisted. This is usually post-surgery, post-broken bone, post-diagnosis, or post-accident (be it car, workplace, or sporting accidents).
However, physiotherapy can also help prevent future injury and monitor you as you aim to try a new exercise program, improve overall strength and flexibility, increase mobility, and reduce localized pain.
To learn more about how a physiotherapist can help you get back to living life without pain, come and see us at Equilibrium Massage Therapy & Therapeutics. We have two locations to best serve you. Our Victoria BC physiotherapists are here to help you achieve your health goals. Book your appointment through our online booking system or call (250) 590-7888.
We are open 7 days a week!