Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Click the questions below to read the answers.
During your first visit you can expect the following:
- Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website - see the paperwork or forms link) (or you can complete the form at the clinic, please arrive 10 minutes early).
- You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
- The therapist will discuss the following:
- Your medical history.
- Your current problems/complaints.
- Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
- How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
- Your goals with physiotherapy.
- Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:
- Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.
- Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
- Muscle Testing - the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
- Neurological Screening - the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
- Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
- Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.
Bring your physiotherapy referral (if your doctor has given you one). If you are covered by auto insurance (because you were in a car accident) bring your insurance company name (auto insurance company & personal insurance company (if you have one)), claim number, policy number, adjuster's name and telephone number.
You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.
The initial appointment lasts approximately one hour. Subsequent treatment visits can range from about 45 minutes up to one hour in length, depending on the nature of your injury and the type of treatment you are receiving.
This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc.
More than half of all Canadians are suffering from pain. However, many do not even know that Physiotherapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.
Physiotherapists are experts at treating muscle and joint problems as well as movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physiotherapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.
You and others may be referred to physiotherapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physiotherapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains and restore your body's ability to move in a normal manner.
For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your Physiotherapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.
In some cases, physiotherapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your Physiotherapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.
You do not need a physician's referral to receive physiotherapy. However, your insurance company may require you to submit a referral from your doctor along with you claim form. Please call your insurance company to confirm.
Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can develop a custom program for you.
Physiotherapists (PTs) are licensed to practice physiotherapy in Ontario.
These are some things you may consider when seeking a physiotherapy clinic:
- The therapist should be licensed in Ontario.
- The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.
- The patient goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.
- Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and in some cases heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
- Do they have a service that can address your problem?
- They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopaedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation.
- What are the hours of operation?
- The therapist should provide the treatment.
- Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?
- Ask your family and friends who they would recommend.