Common Physiotherapy Questions: 20 FAQs Answered

Curious about physiotherapy? Let’s break it down. Here are the 20 most common questions about physiotherapy, answered just for you.

1. What should I expect?

Expect to share with us a little bit about yourself (not the deep personal stuff that you would share with a psychologist) but enough that we get to know you. We want to know your hobbies, your work and your home life. Be prepared to laugh a bit at some poorly drawn stick man as we try to explain what is happening with your injury. You should expect to feel empowered by the end of the session and that you know exactly with your care.

2. How long are the appointments?

Appointments are 1 hour long. This is enough time for us to provide hands-on care as well as enough time to observe how you’re performing the exercise program..

3. What should I wear?

We suggest that you wear something that is comfortable. There is a high likelihood that you will sweat during at least one of your sessions. Shorts and a t-shirt with running shoes is highly recommended. It is also strongly suggested that you DO NOT wear turtlenecks, overalls or skirts for your appointment. The physiotherapist will need access to your injured body part.

4. Does physiotherapy hurt?

This is kind of a hard one to answer. It will not hurt in the way of your injury; but you should expect to feel certain discomfort. You may feel an ache or stiffness with your exercise program; especially if you haven’t moved the injured area in a while. Youu may feel a stretch or pinch with some of the hands-on care that the physiotherapist does. None of these treatments are hurtful or harmful. The sensations are typically temporary and will improve over time as the treatment is repeated.

5. How long will it take until I get better?

This is also a hard one to answer. It is very individualized. It depends on the person’s motivation, willingness, and effort. There are certain timelines for injuries to recover but those are just general guidelines. It may take patients faster or slower than the textbook suggests. This also doesn’t take into account the stress, sleep, eating or lifestyle choices.

6. What caused my injury?

Injuries happen because the tissue is not prepared for the stress that it encountered. It may be something like a single incident; like falling off a step or being in a car accident. Injuries could happen over a prolonged period of time; like poor posture or poor keyboarding biomechanics.

7. What can I still do while I’m hurt?

One of the goals of a physiotherapist is to keep you doing the things that you enjoy doing, the best that we can. It may not be the way that you originally did it! With some guidance and modifications; we can help you to still be involved in the things that you love. Remember: that the modifications and the restrictions are only for a short period of time! We want you to continue to enjoy the things that you like doing for both the mental and physical benefits

8. What should I avoid while I’m recovering?

You should avoid things that cause you pain! Things that make your pain scream and unbearable are things that are not helping your recovery.

9. Can I email you if I have questions?

100%. I want you to feel that you have all the answers to your questions. This helps progress your care. We have seen it all too often where patients have questions about their exercises or certain tasks and they don’t do them until the next time they see us. This can then delay the recovery a whole 1 to 2 weeks. Emailing us also shows that you are engaged with your treatment plan.

10. How do I integrate my exercises into daily life?

The first part is to ensure that your exercise program does not take up a large chunk of your day. It should only take you 20 to 30 minutes. If it’s taking you longer than that you have to tell your treating physiotherapist.

The other recommendation is making it part of your daily routine. Pair it with something that you are already doing. If your morning routine is very standard, wake up just a little bit earlier to squeeze it in between brushing your teeth and your morning coffee. It’s a lot easier to do it with things you already have a routine established with versus starting a whole brand new one.

11. Do I really need physiotherapy?

Yes you do! it is a lot easier to treat a simple ankle strain early than to treat a chronic dysfunction of the lower leg. What I mean by that is if we start early enough, the injury can be contained to the body part. If the injury is left too long; our body starts to compensate and adjust for the injury. This causes the other joints around it to not work properly. Now instead of us only having one injury we have multiple.

12. Are you a doctor?

In Canada certifications vary. Some physiotherapists have graduated with Bachelor degrees and other masters degrees but we are not doctors.

13. Is it the same as massage therapy?

We are not the same as massage therapy. There might be some massage techniques that we use in sessions that we find beneficial for the injury but we do not spend the entire 1 hour massaging the area of injury.

14. Do I need a referral?

No, you do not. You can self-refer to physiotherapy. Your insurance company may require you to submit a doctor’s referral with your policy. It would be a good idea to review your insurance policy before starting physiotherapy to see what they require.

15. What injuries do you treat?

We treat from the tip of your head all the way down to your big toe and everything in between. Concussions, vertigo, whiplash, rotator cuff tears, tennis elbow, back strains, sciatica, ACL repairs, plantar fasciitis are just to name a few.

16. Can a physiotherapist provide me with a diagnosis?

Yes. Physiotherapists are trained extensively in the musculoskeletal system. Their knowledge and expertise can come up with a diagnosis based on both your verbal history as well as your physical presentation. This is all without the use of diagnostic imaging i.e. ultrasounds, x-rays or MRI. Don’t get us wrong, it’s nice to have but it’s not mandatory to make a diagnosis

17. What types of treatments will I receive?

Treatments ferry from patient to patient. they often will include education, home exercise programming, planning, Hands-On care, and occasionally some sort of therapeutic modality.

18. What’s after physiotherapy?

You return to living your best life. Upon discharge, your physiotherapist will talk to you about a continued home exercise program and potential management strategies to help prevent your injury from coming back.

19. What happens if my pain returns?

You can initiate the management strategies that were given upon discharge. If those management strategies don’t work. give us a call (306-786-3300) and we can reassess your injury. It may be something completely different and new OR that the tissues were just not prepared for the task that you asked them to complete and they need to become stronger.

20. How do I start?

Give us a call, 306-786-3300 or email us , We will get you started with a Free 30 Min Consultation to review your injury and discuss your treatment needs.