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We want to ensure that you're well informed so you can make the best decision. Below is a list of answers to our most commonly asked questions.

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists are highly qualified medical providers with advanced education and training in the management of people with neuromusculoskeletal conditions. They are skilled individuals who understand the importance of human interaction, specific education, graded exposure, manual therapy, and progressive overload.

You may be referred to see a physiotherapist in the event that you have pain, a neuromusculoskeletal injury, or physical impairments limiting your function.

Physiotherapy is NOT a prescription. You should not “take physiotherapy” like a dose of medication. You should work WITH your physiotherapist to build a plan that best suits your specific condition and your individual needs.

Here are some of the benefits of physiotherapy:

  • become stronger and more flexible
  • increase freedom/ease of movement and mobility
  • reduce pain and the need for pain medication
  • prevent injury, stay active, and return to normal activities and work
What can I expect from a physiotherapy assessment?

On your first visit, we listen and take a detailed history to best understand the problems you are currently experiencing, the location and nature of your pain, and your individual health goals. This is followed by a thorough physical exam to help determine the underlying cause of your pain or functional limitations.

After the assessment, we will explain our findings, answer your questions so you understand the diagnosis and available treatment options, and determine whether or not there is a need to refer you to another specialist or for medical imaging.

A short treatment consisting of hands-on care, education, and/or exercise will follow at the end to start you off with the tools necessary to be successful in your recovery. Your first visit will last 45 to 60 minutes.

What can I expect from a physiotherapy treatment?

On your second and subsequent visits, we check to see how you are feeling and perform a few quick tests to reassess your body and any changes. We then dedicate the rest of the session to hands-on therapy (like joint mobilizations/manipulations, massage, stretching and traction) and exercise, as well as dry needling, modalities (like ultrasound and ice/heat), movement retraining, taping, and pain education, as needed. These visits typically last 30 minutes, but you also have the option of booking 45 or 60 minute follow-up visits.

Is physiotherapy covered by insurance or health plans?

Yes, we can reimburse or directly bill private insurance companies, ICBC, WorkSafeBC, MSP, Veterans Affairs, and RCMP. No referral is necessary to see a physiotherapist, but your health insurance may require a note from your doctor, so please call and ask about the requirements.

How much education does a physiotherapist have?

As of the early 2000s, Canadian regulations require that physiotherapists have an undergraduate degree and a two-year university Master’s degree in physiotherapy.

In addition to their formal education, Canadian physiotherapists have to pass rigorous national licensing examinations upon graduating, submit and pass annual self-reports, and complete competency exams with their provincial regulatory colleges every 6 years (see

To continue being competent and effective clinicians, Canadian physiotherapists also take courses regularly through our national and provincial associations, as well as international groups, to better our skills. It’s a career based on lifelong learning.

Is physiotherapy safe?

Absolutely! We take safety very seriously, asking questions and screening thoroughly to ensure everything we do is appropriate and minimizes risk. We only perform manual techniques and use modalities that are suitable and specific to you and your body; we never perform techniques that you are uncomfortable with or that would put you in jeopardy of getting injured.

What is joint manipulation?

A joint manipulation is the ‘pop’ or ‘click’ you hear when a joint is moved quickly through a very small range of motion. This sound is believed to be the result of a drop in pressure within the joint cavity where some of the gases are dissolved in the joint fluid, creating a tiny bubble that rapidly collapses upon itself. Neat, hey?

Joint manipulation is traditionally thought of as a technique performed on the spine, but it can also be done on the wrists, hips, SI joints, ankles and toes.

Before a manipulation is performed we thoroughly assess the person and the target region of the body to determine if it would be appropriate and safe in each individual case. As with all physiotherapy treatments, we always make sure you are comfortable with having a manipulation before we perform one, and we’ll choose an alternate treatment if you are not.

What is IMS/dry needling?

IMS stands for Intramuscular Stimulation, also known as “dry needling” and utilizes the same needles used in acupuncture—but this technique is very different. In dry needling, nothing is injected, unlike in “wet” needling, which injects medicine like cortisone, for example.

“Does it hurt?” is usually the next question, and this depends on the individual circumstance. While it can be an intense technique, it’s very beneficial in reducing pain and improving movement by reducing muscle tone, improving muscle activation, and resetting nerve-related pain. It feels like a deep, achy pressure, but is not meant to feel sharp, shooting, burning, piercing or searing. We keep in close communication with you during needling to ensure what you’re feeling is what you should be feeling!

Once I see a physiotherapist, do I have to keep going?

Absolutely not! Our goal is to help you reduce your pain, get you moving and healing through exercise, and ultimately rid your pain at home, long-term. We want to get you as independent as possible, as soon as possible so you barely have to see us. Ironically, we are trying to put ourselves out of business.