Physiotherapy: It’ll Move You!

Not only is May springtime in the Foothills (or it should be!), May is also National Physiotherapy Month. During the month of May, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) aims to raise awareness about the profession and its many benefits to patients. In order to make informed choices for your health care needs, it is important you have accurate information on physiotherapy. This article will aim to inform you of what we do and how we can help you achieve your health related goals.

Physiotherapy is a science with a strong foundation in evidence-based research. We learn clinically and scientifically proven techniques to help heal various medical conditions affecting the body. We are skilled in hands-on assessment and the management of medical problems including neurological issues (brain and spinal cord involvement), cardio-respiratory conditions (involving the heart and lung), and orthopedic conditions (muscles, joints, bones).

We are accessible, direct access health professionals. This means you do not need a referral to come see us. We are trained to identify serious conditions and rule out potential red flag issues that may prompt us to refer you on to further specialized care. Our training is a University level Masters program with intensive study in anatomy and physiology. From there many therapists pursue post graduate training to specialize in such fields as pediatrics, orthopedics/manual therapy, acupuncture, women’s health, or animal rehabilitation.

Physiotherapists work in a variety of settings. These may be hospitals, home care services, private practice clinics, national sports teams and include ages ranging from pediatrics to senior care.

There are three main branches of physiotherapy. Orthopedics includes a wide range of bone, muscle, ligament or joint

issues. This includes conditions such as back and neck pain, arthritis, fractures, ligament sprains, post surgical joint replacements, motor vehicle accidents, and sports injuries. In this field of practice, we aim to decrease pain, improve joint mobility, improve strength, restore function and teach injury prevention. A growing area in the realm of orthopedics is women’s health. Women suffering from breast cancer rehabilitation, pregnancy related issues, chronic pelvic pain and urinary incontinence may benefit from physiotherapy.

Cardio-respiratory is another field of practice involving the treatment of heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), respiratory infections, cystic fibrosis and post-operative care. The benefits of physiotherapy include improved breathing mechanics, secretion clearance, increased endurance, mobility and strength.

Lastly, neurology is a branch of physiotherapy that includes the treatment of certain brain and spinal cord injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis. Therapists working in this field focus on retraining activities of daily living, improving balance, coordination, strength, and managing pain.

What can you expect from a visit to the physiotherapist? We will discuss with you your health history, your current injury complaints, lab test results, and your goals for rehabilitation. We will do a thorough physical assessment of your mobility, joint range of motion, strength and reflexes. Once we have identified the problem areas we will help you understand the injury and how to prevent further issues.

We may include in our treatment manual therapy, such as joint mobilization/ manipulations, soft tissue techniques, therapeutic exercises, acupuncture, ultrasound, electrical nerve stimulation, body mechanics, office ergonomics, active release techniques, and movement coordination.

Our main focus across the spectrum of injuries and conditions we treat is to relieve physical pain, increase mobility, improve strength, balance and cardiovascular performance. It

is important to physiotherapists to engage you in the healing process. Our aim is to help you to understand the mechanics of your injury and learn how to achieve your full potential. You are the most important factor in managing your own health!

Enjoy life to your full potential! Address any issues big or small that may be holding you back from reaching your goals. We are here to help you along that journey. 

Jennifer Gordon (BScPT, AFCI, GIMS, BKin)