Physiotherapists – What do we do? How can we HELP you?


In today’s society, when most people think of physiotherapy, they associate it with the rehabilitation from an injury, relief of pain, and exercises different to the norm.  According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the definition of physiotherapy (physical therapy) is as follows:

“Therapy for the preservation, enhancement, or restoration of movement and physical function impaired or threatened by disability, injury, or disease that utilizes therapeutic exercises, physical modalities (massage, electrotherapy), assistive devices, and patient education and training.”

 The key word describing our profession is ‘Movement’.  We are here to help preserve, enhance, and/or restore movement.

It is common to only think of seeking help from a physio if you’re in pain, but physio’s are trained to do so much more than just pain relief.  As movement experts we can analyze movement and predict injury risk, determine areas of potential injury, address strength imbalances, and improve posture, performance, and health.

In other words, optimize your movement.  It is very common that we help people feel better even when they didn’t know it was possible to feel better.

OK, so how is physio applicable to me if I don’t have an injury?


 Hopefully it is more commonly known these days that muscles do not work in isolation – they work together to create movement – and this is precisely why you can’t train muscles in isolation.  It is also why we can’t rehabilitate muscles or joints in isolation following injury.  An injury rarely occurs in isolation.  Compensation for areas that have pain takes place in surrounding muscles, leading to increased loads in muscles that have no pain.

 And this phenomenon of compensation does not only occur in the presence of pain.  Compensations more commonly develop in response to lifestyle changes.  The majority of our working population does not move enough.  Most sit all day, and even those who do workout/exercise often have to spend hours at a computer/desk and then in a car/train/bus.  This lifestyle changes our movement system.  It creates muscle imbalances that affect how we move.  It creates mobility restrictions, which mean we have to compensate elsewhere to maintain mobility and movement.

This is exactly where physios as movement experts excel – through optimizing movement to improve your health.  These days you should expect to see physiotherapy patients performing more complex functional exercises in the gym, signaling a shift from the old boring exercises that used to be prescribed which isolated muscles.  Functional exercises such as kneeling chops, kettle bell deadlifts, loaded carries, dynamic planks, and Turkish get ups are examples of exercises that mimic how the human body is built to move.

Regular Check-ins for Prevention of Injury


Physiotherapists have a unique set of skills when it comes to preventative medicine.  Movement quality is a crucial indicator of our body’s physical health.  It can tell us if there is a dysfunction through pain, imbalance, instability, or mobility restrictions.  By assessing movement we can see if further assessment is required to uncover a potential problem, discover the potential source of injury, or source of pain.

Movement can cause injuries if done incorrectly, but correcting the dysfunction can prevent pain and injury from ever occurring.  Our bodies despite being organic, can often be compared to cars and vehicles.  Auto maintenance describes the act of inspecting or testing the condition of car subsystems (e.g. engine) and servicing or replacing parts and fluids.  Regular maintenance is critical to ensure the safety, reliability, drivability, comfort, and longevity of a car.  During preventative maintenance, a number of parts are replaced to avoid major damage or for safety reasons (e.g. timing belt replacement).  Why we don’t view our musculoskeletal health with the same thinking is an oversight that eventually leads to injury.  Most of us know that we should be going to the dentist once to twice a year, but often don’t make the time for it until we start to get a toothache.  Why wait for the cavity to form when you could have prevented it with regular maintenance?

Physio’s have the means and skills to monitor our musculoskeletal health to make sure we are moving efficiently, without major compensations, imbalances, or restrictions.  Traditionally physiotherapy is thought to be reactive.  You get hurt, you have pain, and you seek help.  But why wait for the injury to occur when you can prevent it from happening?

No longer should you feel as though you must be injured to work with a physiotherapist.  Instead, regular check-ins should and will become the norm.  To prevent injury, to move better, perform better, and feel better even when you didn’t know you could.

Our Physiotherapists at Get Active Physiotherapy are  trained in the Functional Movement Systems, including the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  Coming soon to Get Active in December we will be offering FMS screens using specialized testing equipment.  These screens help identify areas of imbalance, instability, or mobility restrictions, allowing us to prescribe the proper exercises specific to you as an individual.

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