What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession dedicated to working with people to identify and maximize their ability to move and function throughout their lifespan.

Specifically, physiotherapists improve clients’ quality of life by:

  • Promoting optimal mobility, physical activity and overall health and wellness;
  • Preventing disease, injury, and disability;
  • Managing acute and chronic conditions, activity limitations, and participation restrictions;
  • Improving and maintaining optimal functional independence and physical performance;
  • Rehabilitating injury and the effects of disease or disability with therapeutic exercise programs and other interventions; and
  • Educating and planning maintenance and support programs to prevent re-occurrence, re-injury or functional decline.

Physiotherapy is anchored in movement sciences and aims to enhance or restore function of multiple body systems. The profession is committed to health, lifestyle and quality of life. This holistic approach incorporates a broad range of physical and physiological therapeutic interventions and aids.

Physiotherapy Helps in Many Ways

Many people think physiotherapy is only used for musculoskeletal (neck and back conditions). But the profession actually provides both preventative and rehabilitation treatment for an array of mobility issues, injuries and/or diseases. The following list is only some of the many different areas in which physiotherapy can help:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Back pain
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Conditions (including post heart attack, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), and pneumonia)
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chronic Pain
  • Concussions
  • Critical Care
  • Dementia
  • Developmental Delay & An Array of Paediatric Conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Falls & Fractures
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Incontinence
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neck Pain
  • Neurological Conditions (stroke, concussions, spinal injury, Parkinson’s disease),
  • Occupational Health
  • Oncology-Related Conditions (including lymphedema)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy-related Incontinence
  • Rehabilitation
  • Vestibular Disorders (dizziness)

To find a Physiotherapist or Clinic near you, use our Find a Physio tool.

For a description of physiotherapy in Canada, defined by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA), in consultation with CPA Branch Presidents and Division Chairs and regulatory and academic representatives, visit the CPA website.