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How to Choose a Physiotherapist

How do you choose?

Physiotherapy has a lot of research showing its effectiveness in helping with all sorts of issues, from back pain to pneumonia. So when we have a condition that can be improved with physiotherapy, we consult good ol’ Google, talk to friends and family, and we make an appointment with someone. But with physiotherapists in every major town and city, what should you look for to find the one that’s right for you?

Experience and focus

Within physiotherapy, there are so many focus areas that no single practitioner can be an expert in all of them. So just because your friend saw a physio for her migraines doesn’t mean that the same person will be the best practitioner for your son’s torticollis.

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The first step is to look at the clinics near your home or work, and read through their websites and bios. You’ll get a sense of what each practitioner’s interests are and where their experience is concentrated. Physiotherapy in general can be broken down into three main areas:

  1. Musculoskleletal (sprains, strains, aches and pains!)
  2. Neurological (stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, etc)
  3. Cardiorespiratory (pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, congestive heart failure, etc)

These are all taught in physio school and every physiotherapist will be versed in the basics of them. But most physiotherapists will choose one or two of these areas to focus on in their careers.

Nitty gritty

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Then we get down into the details and the practice areas that go beyond the basics. You might look for a physiotherapist who does:

  • Acupuncture
  • Spinal manipulation (cracking joints, similar to a chiropractor)
  • Vestibular/dizziness
  • Pelvic health
  • Intramuscular stimulation (IMS)
  • Active release (ART)
  • Chronic pain
  • And so much more

I won’t get into the details of these because it would make for a really long post. We’ll explore them further another time. But the main idea is that if you have a condition that would benefit from more specialized care, you can look for a physiotherapist who has gone beyond the basics in their training.


The best question to ask a prospective healthcare practitioner is, “what is your healthcare philosophy?” They should be working hard to make your life better! This can be through improving your symptoms (of course), providing a variety of hours for appointments, offering online booking, allowing children to attend so you don’t need to arrange for childcare, and anything else that revolves around you and your needs.

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I really can’t stress this enough. At Vida Health & Wellness, we do hour-long assessments because it’s in the best interest of our patients. We don’t hand out sheets upon sheets of exercises. Instead, we give 3-5 targeted exercises because we recognize that we all have lives outside of physiotherapy. And we schedule follow-ups 1-4 weeks apart because it allows enough time for real progress. These are the things that matter.

A physiotherapist who is working hard for you is one who will go above and beyond to make your condition better.


Just like it takes a village to raise a child, healthcare isn’t done in isolation. We do better when we work together, so find a physiotherapist who is willing and happy to work with your physician, dentist, specialist, chiropractor, naturopath, psychologist, dietitian, or whoever is involved in your care.

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