title-background-dark-circle-1 title-background-dark-circle-2 title-background-light-circle-1 title-background-light-circle-2 title-background

5 Tips for Getting the Most out of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a diverse profession. There are roughly 3000 Physiotherapists working in Alberta in settings as varied as schools, intensive care units, private clinics and your own home. Physiotherapists work with people of all ages, helping to manage many health conditions, illnesses or injuries.

Despite the range of patient groups served and settings where physiotherapists work, there are some things that hold true when you are looking to get the most out of physiotherapy. Here are our top five tips:

  1. Take the time to reflect on what you value, what matters to you and what your goals are.
    A recent study1 found that when patients were actively involved in setting their treatment goals, they had measurably better outcomes in range of movement, strength and balance.
  2. Find the right physiotherapist for you.
    You may need a physiotherapist who is skilled in a particular technique, who works in a specific geographic location or has hours that fit your schedule, or who can speak to you in your first language.
  3. Share your goals with your physiotherapist and discuss if those goals are feasible.
    It helps if you can relate to your physiotherapist and if you can build a working partnership with them. Start by thinking about your goals and by finding someone who can work with you to achieve those goals. Working with patients on the things that they care about is part of a physiotherapist’s professional standards, and is at the heart of the treatments they provide.2, 3
  4. Set a course for action to achieve your goals.
    Work with your physiotherapist to create a plan or schedule that works for you. Be sure to tell your physiotherapist when something isn’t working for you.
  5. Work actively to achieve your goals.
    Whatever your condition, the secret to success is that you get out what you put in.
    There is a large and growing body of research that shows that exercise or active treatment is more effective than passive physiotherapy treatment. Some examples are improved outcomes for patients with chronic neck pain, managing knee osteoarthritis, and treating shoulder injury.4,5,6

Physiotherapists work with patients to help them find the way to better health. Helping you achieve your goals and get back to doing what matters to you: that’s why physiotherapists do what we do.

  1. Arnetz J, Almin I, Bergstrom K, Franzen Y, Nilsson H. Active patient involvement in the establishment of physical therapy goals: effects on treatment outcome and quality of care. Advances in Physiotherapy [serial on the internet]. (2004, June) [cited May 13, 2014]; 6(2): 50-69. Available from CINAHL
  2. Physiotherapy Alberta’s Code of Ethics. http://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/physiotherapistswhat_you_need_to_know_to_practice_in_alberta/code_of_ethics
  3. Physiotherapy Alberta’s Standards of Practice. http://www.physiotherapyalberta.ca/physiotherapists/what_you_need_to_know_to_practice_in_alberta/standards_of_practice
  4. Kromer TO Tautenhahn UG, de Bie RA, Staal JB, Bastiaenen CHG. Effects of physiotherapy in patients with shoulder impingement syndrome: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. (2009, Nov) [cited May 13, 2014];41(11): 870-80.
  5. Bertozzi L, Gardenghi I, Turoni F, Villafane JH, Capra F, Guccione AA, Pillastrini P. Effect of therapeutic exercise on pain and disability in the management of chronic nonspecific neck pain: Sysetmatic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Physical Therapy. (2013); 93:1026-1036.
  6. Thomas A, Eichenberger, G, Kempton C, Pape D, York S, Decker AM Mohamed K. Recommendations for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, using various therapy techniques, based on categorizations of a literature review. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. (2009); 32(1):33-38

Page updated: 25/04/2022