Ask a Physio! FAQs & common misconceptions

May is National Physiotherapy Month! In celebration of physiotherapists and all the work they do to improve our overall health, we’ve partnered with Pro Sport Rehab & Fitness‘s Corey Young to share more about the world of physiotherapy. Click here to meet Corey.

What is a physiotherapist?

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. More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.

Are physiotherapist fees covered by insurance?  Do I need a referral?

For many Canadians, health insurance providers cover all cost or a portion of the cost of physiotherapist care. Some extended health insurance plans may require a physician’s referral in order to reimburse you for physiotherapist service, but it’s not always necessary. Reach out to your health insurance provider to confirm your level of coverage beforehand and to determine whether or not you require a physician referral for reimbursement.

Blue Cross Tip: Personal Health Plans offer $400 coverage for physiotherapists and other health practitioners! If you’re already a plan member, you can find your coverage details on your personal member portal and app. Not a member yet? Learn more about available plans here.

Physiotherapy services provided in a hospital clinic may be paid in full or in part by your provincial health plan. Physiotherapist services provided to patients who require hospital admission are covered by provincial health plans.

What conditions do physiotherapists treat?

Physiotherapy treatments can be used in a variety of conditions.  Physiotherapists treatments are generally divided into 3 separate areas:

  1. Musculoskeletal – Physiotherapists can treat or reduce the risk of any muscle or joint conditions in the body. These conditions can arise from injuries (at home, sport, workplace, motor vehicle), overuse, or muscular imbalances (weakness or tightness).  Physiotherapists will use a variety of techniques to help the body recover from injury, restore joint motion, normalize muscle tone or address tight and weak muscles.   A few common conditions are neck and low back pain, rotator cuff tendonopathy, tennis elbow, headaches, or joint problems (hip, knee, ankle).  Musculoskeletal therapist are most commonly found in private practice clinics like Pro Sport, but are also in hospitals and extended care facilities.
  2. Cardio respiratory – Physiotherapists can also treat conditions that affect the body’s heart and lung function. These conditions can be a result of disease (asthma, COPD, Cystic Fibrosis), caused by injuries to the chest or following surgery to the chest or abdomen.  Cardio respiratory physiotherapists are usually found in hospitals.
  3. Neurological – Physiotherapists focusing on neurological rehabilitation will work with individuals with neurological concerns from disease (like Guillian Barre or ALS), spinal cord injury, strokes and amputee patients. Physiotherapists in this field are found in hospitals, rehabilitation centres and extended care facilities.

How do physiotherapist treat?

Physiotherapy treatments can include the following:

  • Personalized exercise programs designed to improve your strength, range of motion, and function
  • Massage
  • Joint mobilization and manipulation to reduce pain and stiffness
  • Hot and cold packs and modalities to relieve pain, reduce swelling, speed up the healing process, improve movement and function
  • Airway clearance methods to assist people with breathing difficulties
  • Skin and wound care
  • Management of incontinence including pelvic floor re-education
  • Functional activity and tolerance testing and training
  • Work and occupational re-training and return to work planning
  • Prescription, fabrication and application of assistive, adaptive, supportive and protective devices and equipment
  • Environmental change, focusing on removing barriers to function


Sources: Canadian Physiotherapy Association, 2022. About Physiotherapy, Physiotherapy in Canada.


Meet Corey Young, B.Sc.P.T.,B.Sc.P.E., CAT, AFCI

About Corey  |  Corey graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1995 from the school of Physical Therapy.  After working with the Prince Albert Raiders for 3 seasons Corey was one of the founding members of Pro Sport Rehab and Fitness in Saskatoon in 1998 and continues to work there today.  Since graduating, he has gone on to achieve certificates in Athletic Therapy, Acupuncture and Trigger Point Dry Needling.  Corey has always had a passion for working in sports and with athletes.  Some of the highlights he has experienced is being a part of the 1991 National champion Hilltop football team, the 1992 Saskatoon Slam basketball team league champions, Gold medal 1998 Team Saskatchewan under 17 hockey team, Gold medal 1998 Under 18 team Canada hockey team, Bronze medal 2000 team Canada World Junior hockey team and being inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

About Pro Sport Rehab and Fitness | Pro Sport Rehab and Fitness is a multidisciplinary rehabilitation clinic located in Saskatoon’s north end, with a second location in Warman.  Pro Sport Rehab applies a sport rehab approach to all injuries.  Our disciplines include Physical therapy, Athletic Therapy, Chiropractic Care, and Massage Therapy.  We also have therapists trained in acupuncture, extra corporeal shockwave therapy and pelvic floor therapy.  Orthopedic braces are also available.