Is a physiotherapist a mobility specialist?
In a recent study, which examined the market profile of physiotherapists in Canada, the term mobility specialist was used to describe the role of a physiotherapist within a complex Canadian health care system. It was an interesting term to use, and one that has yet to be expanded on within our health system. However, it did get me thinking as to how a physiotherapist is trained, the effect a physiotherapist can have on mobility, and how to bridge the gap in knowledge, and educate Canadians as to what a “mobility specialist” really is.
The role of a physiotherapist involves working in health, mobility, and rehabilitation. Physiotherapists are trained to understand soft tissue dysfunction, to rehabilitate patients with physical or neurological injury/disease, and to keep the Canadian population moving. However, the rehabilitation and mobility market in Canada is a complex system, with patients interacting with regulated and unregulated health professionals to be physically active or mobile in order to complete activities of daily living, participate in exercise or sport, improve quality of life, or achieve functional independence. The concept of rehabilitation and mobility is vast because of the many suppliers of goods and services that sit in multiple market spaces, straddling the line of publicly funded health providers, private sector business, regulated and unregulated health professionals, and the many areas of practice of those offering physical and virtual goods and services. So, let’s be clear on what a physiotherapist does, and how seeing a physiotherapist as a mobility specialist can drastically change your health, function, and quality of life.
To become a physiotherapist, you must obtain a Masters in Science degree in Physical Therapy. Registered Physiotherapists are required to hold a practicing license in order to practice in Canada. A physiotherapist is able to and is trained to assess, manage, diagnoses, and treat injury/disease/chronic pain/anatomical abnormality/illness that effects a patients mobility. Mobility includes, but is not limited to- walking, running, driving, eating, movement, dancing, cooking, personal hygiene and parenting. Lack of mobility or pain with mobility affects ones activities of daily living, quality of life, and independence. A physiotherapist uses their education in anatomy, physiology, exercise training principles, neurological anatomy, and psychology to assess, diagnosis, treat and manage any and all conditions which may effect ones mobility. A physiotherapist can help patients get back to what they need, want, and love to do, by addressing the body symptoms, muscle impairments, joint issues, and optimizing functional movements. A physiotherapist is highly trained in anatomy and soft tissue, and is equipped to be the provider to get YOU moving again after any physical ailment.
So, if you are injured, experiencing decreased mobility or pain with movement, if you have a disability, or chronic pain, if you have muscle imbalance, poor joint alignment, are you want to prevent degeneration of your joints and muscles… a physiotherapist can help you!
-Charlotte Anderson, Registered Physiotherapist, PhD Candidate