Most people over the age of 30 can relate to experiencing random pain when doing a certain movement. Maybe it’s when you bend down to tie your shoes, checking your blind spot while driving, or pouring your morning coffee. Stranger yet, it seems to have started for no apparent reason. You didn’t slip and fall. You didn’t hurt yourself. You didn’t even do anything different than you usually do. Yet sure enough, there it is and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Well you are not alone, and I know exactly what to do about it.
This is when you should see a physiotherapist (or physical therapist if you prefer as they are different titles for the same profession). You may have always wondered what a physiotherapist does, but never had a reason to look into it further. Physiotherapists will analyze the cause of your pain and work to resolve it. Our goal is to help you recover from an injury and give you tips to prevent it from coming back. This is best achieved by identifying problems with your movement. We then work to solve these movement issues with techniques such as hands-on therapy to reduce stiffness and improve mobility, and a personalized exercise program to improve strength and flexibility where you may be lacking. Think of a physiotherapist as a movement analyst. Our job is to resolve your pain issues and keep you active in the things you love doing.
So why might you see a physiotherapist? When your back hurts while sitting, your shoulder hurts too much to sleep on your side, you sprain an ankle, or your knee is causing pain when you run. These are just a few common examples, and there are many more aches, pains, and injuries physiotherapists treat. By the way, it’s never too late or too early to see a physiotherapist. There is good research to say you are likely to require less pain medication, fewer trips to your family doctor, and fewer treatments sessions from a physiotherapist if you start within the first month of your pain; however, you are always likely to benefit from consulting a physiotherapist regarding your movement problems.
Maybe you aren’t sure if you should see a physiotherapist or another health care provider. It’s not uncommon to see both a physiotherapist and massage therapist, or a physiotherapist and a chiropractor at the same time. These are just a few possible combinations of health care practitioners you may decide to have as part of your health care team. It is important to note you can over-treat a problem so ask your health care provider if it makes sense to see more than one practitioner at the same time.
Here is what a few other professionals said about referring their clients to physiotherapy:
“I believe a referral to a trusted physiotherapist that is willing to cooperate is critical in the case of a client who has a previous injury or developed one. To make sure that I am doing the right thing, at the end of the day I am a Strength coach/personal trainer and not a rehab specialist, the scope must be understood despite all the confusion out there nowadays of “I know it all” trainers. Working in cooperation maximizes the safety and efficiency in a client’s training and progress. Two horses pull a cart faster than the sum of both horses’ power. The client will also recognize your care as a coach and appreciates your initiative.”
- Hussain Samhat, Personal Trainer
“As clients go through their own healing and treatment processes, I have found it extremely helpful to refer them to a physiotherapist for concurrent treatment. The combination of techniques and treatments consistently result in the client receiving more variety of homecare exercises, wider range of treatment protocols, and often a shorter recovery time. The use of physiotherapy in conjunction with registered massage therapy treatments helps to address all angles of a clients injury or condition thoroughly.``
- Elise-Marie Walsh, B.A. Kin, R.M.T.
“Coaching competitive and recreational athletes in CrossFit, physiotherapy comes up often in conversation. Whether to ensure longevity in the sport by having regular ‘check-ups’ to make sure everything is running smoothly, or to know what could be improved to reach your fitness goals faster and safer (and making sure we're not just constantly aggravating an old injury). I know that reaching out to a physiotherapist is essential to maximize results and improve your training experience.”
- Simon Buteau, Crossfit Coach
"I have worked along side Physiotherapists for 15 years, and have learned to really respect and value their opinions and skills when it comes to patient care. If my client's progress becomes static, or I feel she could use further assessment, a very detailed exercise program, or benefit from modalities or specialties the Physios in my office possess, I do not hesitate to refer to my colleagues. I often have physiotherapy treatment myself, and have had great results as well."
- April Magnan R.M.T.
You aren’t likely to require physiotherapy on a continual basis. It is a physiotherapist’s job to help our patients and send them on their way as efficiently as possible.
So next time pain or injury is holding you back, consult a physiotherapist. We can help you achieve your movement goals.