What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a holistic approach to healthcare lead by practitioners dedicated to working with people to maximize their ability to move and function throughout their life. Many people think physiotherapy is only used for musculoskeletal (neck and back) rehabilitation, however the profession provides both preventative and rehabilitation treatment for an array of mobility issues, injuries or diseases. In British Columbia, you can see a physiotherapist without a doctor's referral.

Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals with a significant role in health promotion and treatment of injury and disease. Our physiotherapists combine 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 practise in Canada are qualified to provide safe and effective physiotherapy. Physiotherapists have met national entry-level education and practice standards, and have successfully passed a standardized physiotherapy competence examination prior to being registered with the provincial college of physiotherapists.

What is Dry Needling?

Dry needling is an effective treatment for acute and chronic pain, rehabilitation from injury, and even pain and injury prevention, with very few side effects. This technique is unequaled in finding and eliminating neuromuscular dysfunction that leads to pain and functional deficits.

Dry needling is a therapeutic treatment procedure that involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscle in the area of the body which produces pain and typically contains a "trigger point". There is no injectable solution and typically the needle which is used is very thin.

Most patients will not even feel the needle penetrate the skin, but once it has and is advanced into the muscle, the feeling of discomfort can vary drastically from patient to patient. Usually a healthy muscle feels very little discomfort with insertion of the needle; however, if the muscle is sensitive and shortened or has active trigger points within it, the subject may feel a sensation much like a muscle cramp — which is often referred to as a "twitch response". The patient may only feel the cramping sensation locally or they may feel a referral of pain or similar symptoms for which they are seeking treatment. A reproduction of their pain can be a helpful diagnostic indicator of the cause of the patient's symptoms.

Typically positive results are apparent within 2-4 treatment sessions but can vary depending on the cause and duration of the symptoms, overall health of the patient, and experience level of the practitioner.

What is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program for reducing the symptoms of disequilibrium and dizziness associated with vestibular pathology. VRT can help with a variety of vestibular problems, including: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction (reduced inner-ear function on one or both sides) associated with diagnoses such as Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, and vestibular neuritis.

Even individuals with long-term unresolved inner ear disorders who have undergone a period of medical management—with little or no success— may benefit. VRT can also help people with an acute or abrupt loss of vestibular function following surgery for vestibular problems. VRT is an alternative treatment involving specific exercises that can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms by promoting central nervous system compensation for inner-ear deficits. The program is designed to achieve these goals:

  1. Decrease dizziness and visual symptoms.
  2. Increase balance and walking functions.
  3. Increase general activity levels.

The program may include exercises for:

  • Coordinating eye and head movements;
  • Stimulating the symptoms of dizziness in order to desensitize the vestibular system;
  • Improving balance and walking ability;
  • Improving fitness and endurance Exercises vary depending on the type of inner-ear disorder and the associated symptoms.

What is TMJ Therapy?

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) dysfunction is extremely common and results in a variety of symptoms including pain, tenderness, stiffness and clicking of the TMJ. It can also contribute to headaches, neck stiffness and ringing in the ear. TMJ dysfunction can have a variety of causes including:

  • MVA or other trauma to the face, head and neck;
  • Poor posture;
  • Clenching and grinding of the teeth;
  • Stress and inability to relax or sleep.

Physiotherapy can be very helpful in the treatment of TMJ dysfunction. The results of a detailed physiotherapy assessment will be used to prepare a specific treatment plan than will include:

  • Manual stretching, mobilization and massage of the TMJ and its contributing muscles;
  • Stretching, strengthening and postural correction exercises;
  • Relaxation techniques to reduce muscle tone;
  • Ultrasound to stimulate healing and reduce pain.

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