Physiomontreal - the ultimate montreal physiotherapy resource center

Frequently Asked Questions

Whether you're young or old, active or taking it easy, there's a strong chance you could benefit from physiotherapy at some point.

Half of us, for instance, will suffer from back pain at some stage in our lives. The following explains what physiotherapy is and how Physiomontreal can help you ...


Q: What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy uses a variety of techniques to help your muscles and joints work to their full potential. It can help repair damage by speeding up the healing process and reducing pain and stiffness.

Physiotherapists also have an important role in rehabilitation, for example, helping people who have had strokes to relearn basic movements. However, physiotherapists don't just offer treatment, their advice can help you prevent problems returning or even happening in the first place.

Q: What types of problem can physiotherapy help?

Virtually any condition that affects your muscles, joints or nerves. Common problems that can be helped by physiotherapy include:

  • Painful conditions such as arthritis
  • Back and neck pain, including whiplash
  • Problems affecting children including cerebral palsy
  • Pregnancy related symptoms such as back pain and stress incontinence
  • Upper limb work related problems, also known as repetitive strain injury (RSI)
  • Asthma and other breathing difficulties
  • Sports injuries
  • Strokes and other neurological problems
  • Symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Q: What does the treatment involve?

Before any action is taken, the physiotherapist will assess your condition, diagnose the problem and help you understand what's wrong. They will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan that takes into account your lifestyle, leisure activities and general health. This will include advice on how you can help yourself, for example, you may be shown exercises that you can do between treatment sessions. Where appropriate, physiotherapists also advise carers how they can help.

Physiotherapists use a variety of treatments. For example:

  • Exercise programmes - designed to improve mobility and strengthen muscles
  • Manipulation and mobilisation - to reduce pain and stiffness
  • Electrotherapy - for example, ultrasound to speed up the healing process
  • Acupuncture - used by some physiotherapists qualified to practise this technique
  • Hydrotherapy - exercise in water
  • Massage.

Q: What should I do if I injure myself? Do I need to be referred by a MD, or can I make an appointment to see a physiotherapist immediately?

If the nature or extent of your orthopaedic injury is unclear, you must make an appointment for a consultation with your personal medical physician or specialist. The specialist may in turn recommend x-rays, medication or any other course of action which is deemed appropriate, including perhaps physiotherapy.

If, however, you are very familiar with your injury, and you know that it can be addressed by a physiotherapist, you may choose to skip the medical consultation and make an appointment directly with our physiotherapy services. But remember, when in doubt about the nature of your injury, consult a physician. These consultations are fully covered by Medicare, so there's no need to gamble.

Q: How effective is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists measure their clinical effectiveness by the same standards applied to other health professionals, including doctors and nurses. This is done through independent research to prove that physiotherapy works. For example, studies show that exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation, led by physiotherapists, results in a reduction of sudden death rates after a heart attack by 25 per cent. There is also strong evidence that physiotherapy is an effective treatment for back pain.

To ensure physiotherapists in Quebec apply equally high standards, the Ordre des Physiotherapeutes du Quebec, the professional body representing physiotherapists, circulates guidelines based on research to all its members.