PHYSIOTHERAPY SERVICESAssessment and treatment of the body to improve, renew, and make the most of a person’s mobility, functional movement, and well-being.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession regulated by the College of Physiotherapy of Canada. All of our physiotherapists are registered under College of Physiotherapists of British Columbia and work under the strict mandates set forth by the province of BC. To maintain this status, all physiotherapist must obtain credits in continuing education.
The goal is to provide our clients with safe and effective physiotherapy and therapeutic exercise in order to return to work, sport and the things you love. We provide an active based approach in conjunction with hands-on therapy to prevent injuries and rehabilitate, strengthen, and perfect functional movement.
Frequently Asked Physiotherapy Questions
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy (aka physical therapy) is assessment and treatment of the body to improve, renew, and make the most of a person’s mobility, functional movement, and well-being. Physiotherapy helps through active rehabilitation, exercise therapy, injury prevention, and health and fitness. Physiotherapists get you involved in your own recovery by providing patient education to empower individuals to reach their top physical potential.
When should I see a physiotherapist?
There are many benefits of physiotherapy. A physiotherapist is a human movement specialist. They help you discover the source of what’s ailing you.
The scope of practice of physiotherapy services is wide and varied. People with injuries (motor vehicle accident or work related accidents, sports injuries, general aches and pain, soft tissue injuries, post surgical or joint replacements) or chronic pain that prevents you from living your life typically understand physiotherapists can help.
However, many people don’t realize that physical therapists can also help with ergonomic assessments, stroke patients, creating individualized exercise programs, dry needling, joint mobilizations, athletic injuries, sport injuries, soft tissue work, in-home physiotherapy, virtual care and much more. Your doctor may recommend physiotherapy to help manage chronic illness such as diabetes or obesity or after a traumatic event such as a heart attack, stroke or broken bone. However, a doctor referral is seldom necessary in order to visit a physiotherapy clinic.
Is physiotherapy covered by my health insurance?
Most extended health providers will help cover the cost of your registered physiotherapy assessment and treatment. However, it is highly recommended that you check with your extended health provider first to confirm the amount of coverage and to ask if a doctor referral is required for insurance coverage. Our office provides the convenience of direct billing to your insurance company.
If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident (ICBC claim) or have been injured at work and have a WorkSafe BC claim, you will be automatically covered to receive physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Please make sure you have a claim number prior to your visit.
For those clients seeking virtual care, please make sure to ask if these physiotherapy services are covered by your extended health insurance.
What is physiotherapy treatment?
Physiotherapy treatment is difficult to define because your assessment and treatment will be as unique and individual as you are.
Physiotherapy treatment includes many things and will vary depending on your needs and goals. First off, in order to get an understanding of what physiotherapy treatment you need, you will receive a thorough assessment from your physiotherapist including taking a detailed history of your issue at hand and your past medical history. You will also be asked about your overall health, including stress, leisure activities, sports injuries and work. We will also spend time asking about your goals of physiotherapy: if you didn’t have pain, what would you be doing? This is key to helping you reach your goals.
Next, your first physiotherapy treatment will involve a physical examination. The physiotherapist will need to have a look at your injury and how you’re moving. They may also need to have a feel of the soft tissues of the body part in question.
Your physiotherapist now has the information they require to begin your physiotherapy treatment. This will vary the most from client to client and from session to session. This may involve manual therapy (soft tissue treatment), joint mobility, strengthening, stretching, and/or functional mobility, exercise therapy, dry needling (acupuncture or IMS – intramuscular stimulation), vestibular rehabilitation, in-home physiotherapy (home care or virtual care) and patient education. Many people don’t realize that patient education is usually the most important aspect of your physiotherapy treatment. If you understand why you are injured and how to prevent it from happening again, you’re already halfway to recovery.
Finally, your physiotherapy treatment will conclude with a treatment plan. This will outline the expectations of how often you’ll need to come back as well as laying out how long it will take for your recovery. You will receive a treatment plan and exercise program (if indicated) at the end of your physiotherapy treatment.
Does physio really work?
If we could get a nickel for every time someone asks: “does physiotherapy really work”, we wouldn’t have to have a clinic! This question is much more complicated than one would imagine.
First off, physiotherapy, just like any other profession has it’s “good apples and it’s bad apples”. It really comes down to clinic philosophy. Unfortunately, there are still clinics out there that treat clients like a fast food assembly line. They squeeze in as many clients an hour as possible and give everyone the same treatment, regardless of the reason. You will see the physiotherapist jumping from client to client in this scenario. Although this way of providing physiotherapy treatment is much cheaper to the consumer, is there value if the physiotherapist only spends 10 to 15 minutes providing treatment, education and reaching your goals? At Westcoast SCI, we only see our clients 1-on-1 and for a minimum of 30 minutes. It’s like getting a meal at a fast food restaurant vs a gourmet restaurant. You get what you pay for and will gain the benefits of physiotherapy.
Second, the use of passive modalities, especially heat (or ice) pads and buzzy machines. Again, and very unfortunately, there are clinics out there that rely heavily on heat pads and buzzy machines. Worse off, they will apply these techniques to every person that comes in for physiotherapy treatment. Typically the clinics that use this approach also try to squeeze in as many clients as possible, that’s why those of you who have been to a place like this have been left on your own for 15-20 minutes with the buzzy machine while they rush off to see the next person in line! At Westcoast SCI, we very seldomly, if ever use buzzy machines. We don’t even have heat pads or ice packs. If you require these things, you’d be much better off using them at home and not “wasting” your valuable time and money doing these things in our clinic. Instead, you should use the expertise and knowledge that our physiotherapists provide in the form of patient education, hands on soft tissue treatment, and evidence based functional movement exercise therapy.
Third, clients who are required to come in 2-3 times a week “until it gets better” should be a red flag. This is typically recommended at a clinic who spends 15 minutes with you and the rest on a machine and heat pack. Wouldn’t it make more sense to come in less often and spend more time with the therapist? True, each session would cost a bit more, but being provided with better education and home treatment options should significantly reduce the number of visits required to help you reach your goals quicker.
Our goal is to empower you with the tools you’ll need to have control over your symptoms and manage your recovery.
What are your hours of operation?
Our physical therapy clinics are open for in-person and virtual care Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm (except Statutory holidays).
How many clinic locations does WestcoastSCI Physiotherapy have?
We have 2 clinic locations in the Greater Vancouver area: the city of Vancouver, BC and Port Coquitlam, BC where we offer in-person physical therapy.
If you prefer, you can always receive a telerehabilitation (virtual care) appointment from the convenience of your own home.
Is Registered Physiotherapy covered by extended health insurance?
Yes, Physiotherapy services are covered by your extended medical health insurance benefits. We always recommend that you check with your extended health provider to confirm:
- If they require a doctor’s referral
- If they cover virtual care (if you plan to come for telerehabilitation services)
- How much your total coverage is for physiotherapy services (per year and per session)
Do you provide in-home physiotherapy?
At this time, we can provide in-home physiotherapy in rare cases. Because of COVID19 protocols, our ability to enter into a person’s home is very limited.
A great alternative and to close the gap left by our inability to provide in-home physiotherapy is telerehabilitation (also known as online-physiotherapy, telehealth or virtual care).
Should I come for an in-person visit or a telehealth (aka virtual care, telerehabilitation service or online-physiotherapy) appointment?
Our team of Registered Physiotherapists and Kinesiolgists can provide excellent healthcare both in person and virtually.
This really can depend on several factors. Although in-person visits have their place, Telerehab has provided excellent health care for many individuals. Given the COVID 19 situation, some people may feel more comfortable in the safety of their own homes. Additionally, if individuals have symptoms of COVID 19, or are in self-isolation, they could still access the benefits of physiotherapy sessions while in quarantine. The physical examination and physical intervention can all be done virtually.