No it is not necessary to have a referral to attend physiotherapy. Physiotherapists are direct access practitioners. However, if you have extended medical coverage, some insurance companies require a referral for reimbursement so it is wise to check with your insurance company. WSBC and ICBC claims do not require a doctor's referral as to not cause delay to treatment. WSBC automatically will cover the first visit to allow you to commence treatment if you are delayed in seeing your doctor.
If you qualify for premium assistance you will have a total of 10 sessions in a calendar year that are at a reduced rate when attending the following practitioners; physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and podiatrists.
Loose fitting clothing is often best because it allows us to see your full movement of the surrounding area. This can often be achieved with shorts and/or T-Shirt depending on the area being assessed. If you forget to bring your own we have a full assortment of shorts and also gowns.
The physiotherapist will do an assessment of your injury which includes a discussion of the history and mechanism of your injury as well as a physical assessment of the injury. This enables the physiotherapist to determine appropriate treatment options which he/she will discuss with you before commencing treatment.
Yes, a physiotherapist can answer some questions over the phone however it is easier to determine if we can help you by seeing and assessing the injury. If we are unable to help you we will tell you and discuss options, which may include a referral to a doctor requesting further diagnostic testing.
Until you see us, and we are better able to assess the injury it is often prudent to try using the R.I.C.E. principle (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation above the heart). This isn't to say that all injuries need ice, but it will often help in the reduction of swelling in the acute phase which can help limit tissue damage. Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes up to once an hour, but should not be applied for more than 20 minutes at a time because this can reverse the affects. If you are dealing with a long standing problem, or you have tried icing and you did not feel any improvement and you do not see any signs of acute swelling then you may want to try application of heat to the area.