Physiotherapy is an effective treatment for pain and discomfort in many areas of the body. But like all medical treatments, procedures and exercises, it’s crucial to have the proper health care professional perform it. This is where a physiotherapist comes in. These highly-trained professionals are the only ones trained to practice physiotherapy and are a big reason physiotherapy is so successful at treating a variety of illnesses, injuries and disabilities.
Continue reading below to learn more about physiotherapists, including what they do, why you should visit one and symptoms that might require a physiotherapist’s attention.
WHAT IS A PHYSIOTHERAPIST?
A physiotherapist is a health care professional who provides treatment for a variety of injuries, illnesses and disabilities. But unlike health care professionals such as doctors and nurses, a physiotherapist only uses hands-on techniques and skills to assess, diagnose and treat patients.
Today, there are over 20,000 licensed physiotherapists in Canada. Each has met or exceeded Canada’s education and practice standards and has completed an extensive competence exam. And contrary to what some people may believe, physiotherapists and physiotherapy aren’t just for athletes. Physiotherapists have the skills and expertise to treat anybody and you’ll find them working in everywhere from hospitals, clinics and community health centres to assisted-living facilities, schools and even workplaces.
REASONS TO VISIT A PHYSIOTHERAPIST
Although the majority of patients we see here at Guelph Rehab require rehabilitation treatment, there are also many other reasons for visiting a physiotherapist.
As we said, you don’t need to suffer an injury to make use of physiotherapy. A physiotherapist can provide you with an understanding of your body’s limits before you start a new sport, exercise or other activity and help lessen your chance of injury.
IMPROVE POSTURE AND FLEXIBILITY
While a significant portion of what a physiotherapist does is injury-related, they are also extremely beneficial for people with poor posture or flexibility. Whether it’s due to sitting in a desk all day at work or a past injury, your physiotherapist can create an exercise plan to strengthen your postural muscles and stretch out tight muscles. In the long run, this can relieve patients from neck aches, backaches and headaches, reduce a patient’s pain medication intake and improve a patient’s quality of life overall.
TREAT GENERAL PAIN
You don’t have to suffer an injury to experience body pain or discomfort. Pain can be caused by many different things and can even be triggered randomly. And just like how a physiotherapist treats athletes and other patients who have suffered a specific injury, they can also treat patients suffering from general pain as well. It’s important to listen to your body when pain arises. In some cases, general pain can be the start or a sign of something more severe and by consulting your physiotherapist or another health care professional immediately, it is easier to treat and potentially cure.
And even if none of the above reasons apply to you, a physiotherapist can be a great resource when starting a new sport or for any other health-related questions you may have. After all, they know your body almost as well as you do and have access to many other highly-trained health care professionals.
YOU MAY NEED TO VISIT A PHYSIOTHERAPIST IF…
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “my posture and flexibility are great, I don’t suffer from any pain and don’t need any medical advice, so why should I visit a Physiotherapist?” That’s a good question and one that many people ask themselves all the time. But the truth is, physiotherapists have one of the best understandings of the human body and what you might think is a concern for someone other than your physiotherapist, your physiotherapist may be the person you should be talking to.
Below are a few common symptoms that we find people mistake for another health care professional’s concern when in fact they are a physiotherapists concern.
- Dizziness – Your inner ear is a crucial part of your balance system and more often than not, dizziness is caused by an issue in your inner ear. And while most people would turn to their family doctor or possibly an ear specialist, many causes of dizziness can be cured by your physiotherapist. Together, you and your physiotherapist will work through a series of head, neck and eye exercises specifically designed to treat inner ear problems.
- Weak Bladder or Bladder leakage – Urinary incontinence is the uncontrollable passing of urine. It’s typically most common in older females but can occur in both males and females at any age. In most cases, your physiotherapist will focus on your pelvic floor muscles using specific pelvic floor exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and cure or significantly reduce urinary incontinence.
- Breathlessness or a Persistent Chest Cough – When we think of respiratory issues, our immediate response is to seek help and treatment from a doctor. And you’re not wrong, except sometimes, some respiratory issues like breathlessness and chest coughs can be treated by your physiotherapist using breathing exercises. No waiting in the emergency room for hours and hours required.
We hope this article has provided you with a better understanding of physiotherapists and physiotherapy treatment as a whole. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, reach out to us by phone or email.
You can also check out our physiotherapy services page here or learn more about our resident physiotherapist, Erin Seaton, here.