About Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a patient’s mobility, function, and well-being. Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals with a significant role in health promotion and treatment of injury and disease.

They combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability.

All physiotherapists registered to practice in Canada are qualified to provide safe and effective physiotherapy. They have met national entry-level education and practice standards, and have successfully passed a standardized physiotherapy competency examination prior to being registered with the college of physiotherapists in their province/territory.

Physiotherapists help people understand why they’re experiencing pain, and how it can be managed. They can help prevent a condition or injury from developing, and help prevent re-injury or pain from developing into a chronic condition. When you are faced with pain or discomfort, make physiotherapy a choice.

Here is a list of the most common conditions that are successfully treated with physiotherapy.

• Back Pain and Sciatica
• Neck Pain
• Disc-related conditions including Degenerative Disc Disease
• Shoulder Impingement
• Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
• Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSIs)
• Headaches
• Tendonitis and tendon tears
• Bursitis
• Sprains and Strains
• Joint Dislocation and/or Joint Instability
• Various forms of Arthritis including Osteoarthritis
• Spondylitis, Spondylosis, Spondylolisthesis
• Following Joint Surgery to repair meniscus, tendons, ligaments (e.g. ACL)
• After a joint replacement (Total Knee Replacement, Hip Arthroplasty)
• Post fracture
• Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries including Whiplash
• Muscle weakness and muscle tears
• General problems involving balance and falls risk
• General Fatigue and Deconditioning


• Rotator Cuff Syndrome
• Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
• Golfer’s Elbow
• Tennis Elbow
• Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
• Swimmer’s Shoulder
• Jumper’s Knee
• Runner’s Knee
• Shin Splints
• Compartment Syndrome
• De Quervain’s
• Iliotibial Band Syndrome
• Piriformis Syndrome
• Chondromalacia Patella
• Plantar Fasciitis

Canadians & Physiotherapy

Eleven million Canadians over the age of 12 years old are affected by musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions annually. Strong evidence exists to support physiotherapy in their treatment. Physiotherapy contributes to improved physical function, allowing individuals to return to healthy living, including return to work and recreational activities.

Cardiac disease is a leading cause of death in Canada; approximately 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Physiotherapy is integral to effective multi-disciplinary cardiovascular rehabilitation (CR). Treatment by a physiotherapist has a significant impact on the physical function and overall quality of life (QOL) in individuals with cardiac disease.

Approximately 50% of all Canadians are living with at least one chronic health condition. Many of these patients are receiving team-based primary health care, where they can benefit from accessing a wide range of providers, including physiotherapists, for management and prevention of future health problems.

In Canada there is a high and growing incidence and prevalence of chronic lung disease. It is one of the leading causes of death in Canada. One in four individuals will be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and receive treatment for the disease during their lifetime. Exercise and physical activity training, prescribed by a physiotherapist, is an essential component of PR programs for improving functional performance and quality of life (QOL).

Quick Facts:

Vaughan Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists working in the emergency department (ED) play an integral role in the assessment, diagnosis, triage and management of patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and frail elderly patients showing a decline in function. Physiotherapists assess and treat mobility issues, provide instruction on appropriate mobility aids and facilitate safe discharge planning from the ED.

In Canada, the average cost per fall requiring hospitalization is approaching $30,000. This significant economic burden highlights the need for increased falls prevention programs. Physiotherapy is highly effective in preventing and reducing the risk of falls, and in the assessment and management of fall- related injuries in older adults.

Over 75% of people requiring home care are seniors who require assistance in managing physical and cognitive limitations. Physiotherapy provided in the home lowers mortality rates related to falls and the risk and rate of falls in older adults, reduces number of nursing home admissions and hospitalizations, and decreases hospital length of stay (LOS).

Prolonged immobilization in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) puts patients at risk for complications such as deconditioning, ICU-related weakness, myopathy and neuropathy, respiratory infections, and contractures. Physiotherapy treatment in the ICU is focused on early mobilization of critically ill patients and respiratory management of patients who are ventilator dependent. Early intervention by a physiotherapist leads to improvements in quality of care.

Physiotherapists play an important role in the perioperative management of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients, from pre-operative triaging for surgical candidacy, to pre-operative education for patients scheduled for surgery and postoperative rehabilitation in the hospital and the community.

More on Physiotherapy:

Four out of five Canadians experience at least one episode of low back pain (LBP) at some point in their life. Physiotherapy for patients with LBP is effective in reducing both acute and chronic pain while significantly limiting the risk of increased disability and chronic conditions.

Eleven million Canadians over the age of 12 years old are affected by musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions annually. Strong evidence exists to support physiotherapy in their treatment. Physiotherapy contributes to improved physical function, allowing individuals to return to healthy living, including return to work and recreational activities.

Physiotherapists working in primary health care teams maximize mobility in response to the needs of patients across the lifespan. Physiotherapists help ensure continuity of care for patients and their families across the care continuum.

Approximately 50,000 Canadians have a stroke each year; 75% of those surviving are left with some level of disability. Physiotherapy for stroke survivors is an integral part of the rehabilitation treatment plan. As members of stroke teams, physiotherapists address physical function issues and prevention of subsequent strokes, which are key determinants of quality of life (QOL).

© Canadian Physiotherapy Association 2024