7 Signs It’s Time to See Your Physiotherapist

  •   November 7, 2019
  •  Nancy Littke, PT

When symptoms such as pain, weakness, unsteadiness, or a general decline in function start to become bothersome and affect your ability to live your life as you want to, it’s worth asking for professional help.

Why seek help from a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists are highly-educated health-care professionals who focus on assessing and treating physical function, movement and mobility. They use their knowledge to help you understand how your body moves, what stops it from moving well, and what is needed to get you moving again. Physiotherapists use a hands-on approach to restore, maintain or maximize your physical function. They can help you meet your activity goals and maintain the quality of life you desire. In collaboration with you, physiotherapists can help you understand and manage your symptoms. They may use individualized therapeutic exercise, manual therapy or other treatment techniques to help you take control of your body and life.

Physiotherapy is an amazingly diverse profession! Physiotherapists work in settings as varied as hospitals, long-term care centers, schools, intensive care units, private clinics and your own home. They work with people of all ages helping to manage many health conditions, illnesses or injuries. Physiotherapists are primary health-care providers and you do not need a referral to see them They can be your first stop when you need help dealing with mobility or movement problems.

When should I see a physiotherapist?

You may already know some of the common reasons people see a physiotherapist including treating musculoskeletal injuries, back pain or helping you recover after a stroke. However, you might not realize it may be time for a visit to a physiotherapist if:

  1. You have pain that limits your activities and/or affects your sleep. Whether you have a recent injury with acute pain or are dealing with chronic pain that limits your activities, physiotherapists can work with you to identify the source of your pain and help you develop strategies to manage your symptoms.
  2. You have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as MS, diabetes, heart disease or a respiratory disease but still want to keep active. If you are unsure about what you can do or are fearful of aggravating your symptoms and making things worse, a physiotherapist can help you understand your condition. They can work with you to develop a lifelong action plan that keeps you moving and living the life you desire.
  3. You feel you are slowing down, becoming less active, or having difficulty doing many of your previous activities and have attributed this to age. Although these issues are more common as we age, they should not simply be accepted as normal and unavoidable. Physiotherapists can help you understand what is happening to your body and how you can combat these changes through activity and exercise.
  4. Your back, neck, or shoulders ache, or you have frequent headaches after sitting for an extended period. These symptoms may be related to prolonged postures or the configuration of your workstation. Physiotherapists can help develop a specific exercise program to strengthen and stretch postural muscles as well give advice to modify your workstation to prevent ongoing issues.
  5. You are not as steady on your feet as you once were, have had a fall or near fall and are afraid to go out alone. Physiotherapists are trained to identify possible causes for unsteadiness and falls and can provide you with a treatment plan to address your balance problems.
  6. You are dealing with incontinence and it is limiting your participation in activities or social situations. Although common, this condition is not something you just have to live with. Many physiotherapists have advanced training in treating incontinence in both women and men and can help treat or manage your symptoms.
  7. You want to become healthier and more active but don’t know where to start. A visit to a physiotherapist can get you started on this journey and coach you through the both the challenges and successes you will experience along the way.

If you want help understanding what is limiting your activity, want advice on safely increasing activity levels or want to learn more about living with chronic disease or chronic pain, a visit to a physiotherapist is a good place to start. There are over 3,000 physiotherapists in Alberta who are there for you. REMEMBER: You do not need a referral to see a physiotherapist!

To find a physiotherapist who can help you address your concerns click here.