What do Physiotherapists do?

Physiotherapy is a primary care, autonomous, client-focused health profession dedicated to:

  • Improving and maintaining physical mobility and independence

  • Preventing, managing and reducing pain, physical limitations or disabilities that may limit the clients activities

  • Improving overall fitness, health and well-being.

Physiotherapists also work in areas that span all three practice areas such as:

  • Women’s health (including pre and post natal care, incontinence, and other women’s health issues)

  • Paediatrics

  • Geriatrics

  • Cancer (pain management and exercise)

  • Arthritis

Physiotherapy’s unique contribution to health care stems from its advanced understanding of how the body moves, what keeps it from moving well and how to restore mobility.
Physiotherapists assess the client's level of mobility, strength, endurance and other physical abilities to determine the impact of their illness or injury on their physical function, whether at work, rest or play. They diagnose the condition and develop a treatment plan to restore movement and reduce pain or limitations to mobility. They treat the condition and help the client understand its effect on their function. They measure the client's progress regularly and adjust the treatment accordingly. They also advise the client on how to manage their condition independently and help the client prevent avoidable recurrences or complications.
Physiotherapists provide valuable health care for people across the life span from birth to older age. Primarily, they work in 3 practice areas: orthopaedics, neurology and cardiorespiratory. The following are examples of the types of conditions physiotherapists may treat:



  • Back and neck pain

  • Sports injuries

  • Repetitive strain injuries (i.e.: carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow)                                     

  • Motor vehicle accidents           

  • Post-surgical rehabilitation (i.e.: hip or knee replacement, rotator cuff)  

  • Work Injuries    



  • Asthma

  • Chronic obstructive lung disease

  • Pneumonia

  • Post-surgical rehabilitation (i.e.: cardiac, thoracic or abdominal)

  • Cardiac rehabilitation

  • Cystic Fibrosis



  • Stroke

  • Spinal cord injury

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Head injuries

  • Parkinson's

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Concussions

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Canadian Physiotherapy Association