What exactly is a physiotherapist?

People who have been injured in car accidents have a wide range and often confusing amount of potential treatments available to them. It is important to actually understand what each form of treatment actually is. In this article I will be talking about physiotherapists (not to be confused with a physical therapist).

In Canada physiotherapists are a regulated profession. Like lawyers or doctors, each province has their own regulatory body to regulate their physiotherapists. The Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia’s website can be found here:


As per this website a physiotherapist is described as:

“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 services are those that are performed by physiotherapists or any other trained individuals working under a physiotherapist’s direction and supervision.”

As stated in my other articles, when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC has an obligation to pay for a portion of your physiotherapy. ICBC must pay regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It is important when choosing a physiotherapist that the therapist be registered. This not only ensures that you are getting professional and competent treatment, but ICBC only has an obligation to pay for treatment provided by a registered physiotherapist.

As previously, discussed a failure to get proper treatment may also cause the courts to see you as a “malingerer” and decrease your overall award. During settlement negotiations, the other side is likely to pick up on this and, as a result, offer you a lower settlement.

It is my experience, that my clients find physiotherapy to be an extremely helpful and efficient tool in their recovery process. As always, I recommend that you discuss any potential treatment with a doctor.


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