A Question Often Asked of Me About Physiotherapy July 2011

When does someone need a physiotherapist? How do I know if they are excellent in their field of Practice?


In our practice at OPC Inc we find a number of employees are attending very passive types of care for their injuries and musculoskeletal complaints including passive physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage & acupuncture. By passive this means you the patient are the passive recipient of care including modalities meant to “take your pain away”.
There is absolutely no evidence in any of the literature so show this type of care benefits you in the short and long term. Nor will you learn about your injury and how to manage it yourself in an effective way in going forward. And this evidence is clear whether it is in the PT, chiropractic or massage therapy literature.
So what is this Active, Evidence based case OPC talks about in all of our ergonomic reports for our clients?
This means you the employee, or you the employer are ensuring the best possible care is applied and that benefits are being used in an effective and cost effective way. This gold standard way is having employees with injuries and MSI’s which last greater than 2 weeks to attend at an active, exercise based Physiotherapy clinic.
A Registered Physiotherapist will help the employee to live an active, healthy lifestyle including being able to work, play and perform activities of daily living in as effective a way possible.
A Physiotherapist will help the employee to:

  • Manage pain & symptoms to a realistic level (some chronic pain types of patients may never have the pain leave them) 
  • Improve joint mobility
  • Increase strength and coordination
  • Improve cardiorespiratory function
  • Recover from a work injury or illness
  • Improve function despite the presence of a chronic illness
  • Recover from a motor vehicle accident


So how will you or an employee know what is good Physiotherapy and what is the type of passive therapy to avoid?  By simply asking during the initial phone call to the clinic;

  1. “does your clinic & Physiotherapist provide active, evidence-based care at all times”?
  2. “Will I receive education & training about my injury or MSI & therefore be able to take more control and responsibility for my health outcomes”?
  3. “Will functional & health outcomes be a key part of my therapy & exercise program”?
  4. “Will I be referred to another specialist if my therapy plateaus or if my function and symptoms increase?”
  5. ‘Will I be discharged from care based on objective functional & clinical signs versus maxing out my insurance & benefits coverage?” 
  6. Does your clinic have access to an Ergonomic firm who can follow up in my workplace, sports arena, recreational facility, home to ensure ergonomic design is in place?

These are tough questions to ask a clinic or Physiotherapist who practices at a level which does not represent excellence.  For the best clinics & Physiotherapists these questions will be welcomed and encouraged.

So how else can a Registered Physiotherapist help you the employee or you the employer.  Physiotherapist also specialize in these areas which you may not be aware of;

  • Heart and lung disease
  • Traumatic workplace and athletic injuries including post operative care or fractures 
  • Arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Stroke, brain injury, spinal cord and nerve injury
  • Amputations
  • Cancer
  • Pre – and postsurgical needs
  • Diabetes
  • Incontinence
  • Other medical related conditions on an in-patient and out-patient basis

So now that you know about active, exercise based, evidence based care and what makes a great Physiotherapist here are 2 ways you can locate these Physiotherapists; contact www.OPA.ON.ca for a list of clinics in your area or close to work or www.HealthAware.ca

We are also here to help direct you or your employees to the best care possible. Time to get people moving, exercising & improving function on a timely basis
.
I apologize up front that you will no longer be lying down for passive treatment at the rehabilitation practitioner’s office but if your mandate is to improve your function & symptoms to the best possible level then this is the route to go.

JE Sleeth Hon.B.P.&H.E., B.Sc.P.T., RPT   OPC Inc

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