I thought physiotherapists only treated sports injuries...

That’s what a lot of my patients say to me after being referred from their doctor or family friend.  A common misconception is that physiotherapists only dealt with sports injuries such as sprained ankles or rotator cuff tears. In fact, physiotherapists work in a wide range of clinical areas, such as hospitals, schools, home and long-term care facilities and private clinics.  From birth to old age, physiotherapists play a large part in maintaining function, restoring mobility and prevent injuries and complications. These professionals are university trained with a Master’s degree* and work along side other health care professionals. Physiotherapists develop an individualized treatment plan that utilize a combination of modalities, such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, exercise therapy, manual therapy and education.

The following is just a snap shot of the different areas that physiotherapists cover:

  • Pediatric physiotherapy (ex. cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, torticollis)
  • Neurophysiotherapy (ex. spinal cord, stroke, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease)
  • Hand rehabilitation (ex. Boutonniere deformity, carpal tunnel, hand injuries)
  • Cardiorespiratory physiotherapy (ex. asthma, emphysema, recovery from heart and lung surgeries)
  • Orthopaedics (Manual therapy) (ex. low back pain, shoulder and knee injuries)
  • Incontinence treatment (ex. help with bladder and bowel control)
  • Women’s health (ex. post and pre-natal care)
  • Geriatric care (ex. improving strength, flexibility and preventing falls)


For more information, check out the newly designed website from the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia

"What does science say about physiotherapy? Well, turns out that science loves physiotherapy.  All the evidence suggest that physiotherapists can help you heal faster and more completely."- Randy Shore, Empowered Health

* The minimum requirement for practising physiotherapy in Canada is a Bachelor's degree.  All entry-level programs in Canada will be at the Masters level by 2010, and many programs are already at the Masters level (CPA website)
Cover photo taken by Matthew Wilkinson