This Month we Celebrate Physiotherapy

This month we Celebrate PHYSIOTHERAPY!


May is National Physiotherapy month! There are over 3,000 physiotherapists in Alberta who were born to get you moving?

What is a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists are experts on how your body moves and what stops it from moving. As movement specialists, we use hands-on techniques and prescribe exercise programs to help you restore and maintain your movement.

At Avenue Physio our goal is to change your life with Movement! 

At Avenue Physio our goal is to change your life with Movement! While many studies show that receiving the right care after an injury can make a big difference in your recovery, not everyone is familiar with physiotherapy. Unfortunately, just one in ten Canadians seek the advice of a physiotherapist. Yes, only 10% of the population are seeking out the professional advice of a physiotherapist.


What problems do physiotherapists treat?

Physiotherapists focus both on prevention and rehabilitation. They treat a diverse array of problems that are caused by injury, disease, or disability.

Here are just some examples:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Problems in the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments, such as arthritis,
  • fractures and the after-effects of amputation
  •  Issues related to the lung such as asthma and long covid
  • Disability as a result of heart problems
  • Pelvic issues, such as bladder and bowel problems related to childbirth
  • Loss of mobility because of trauma or neurological diseases like in Parkinson’s
  • disease and multiple sclerosis
  • Symptoms of dizziness related to concussion
  • Fatigue, pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of muscle strength, (for example during cancer treatment, or palliative care)

And the list goes on and on…….



What we treat at Avenue Physio


At Avenue Physio, we are a team of skilled physiotherapists who understand how and why movement improves function.

What you should expect from a physiotherapist?

Investing in your health is a worthwhile choice. It is important that you get the most out of your efforts and dollars spent. As a consumer, there are things that you need to expect and demand from your physiotherapist to ensure that you reach your movement goals.

  1. Active Listening

You should feel that your therapist has taken the time to hear your whole story. Understanding specific functional movements that cause your pain and why you have sought treatment in the first place is a good place to start.

Your therapist also should have an understanding of your work life and hobbies. Discussing your present and past pain experiences, it will help your therapist understand your relationship with pain.  Having open and honest communication will help build an effective relationship.

  1. A Comprehensive Assessment

A physiotherapist needs to take the time to accurately assess your problem or complaint. First, you need to determine if physiotherapy is the right treatment for you or if you need to be referred to a physician for further medical evaluation.

If your therapist has not taken the time to assess your movement patterns and anatomical structures to come up with a clear diagnosis or direction for treatment, then they are simply guessing. Looking beyond the pain to determine what has caused the symptoms to address the factors that led to the injury is critical to ensure a full recovery and ensure the pain does not return.

  1. Education

Having a clear understanding of what your body is going through and why is the first step to recovery. Your questions should be answered so that you are able to explain to your family and friends what your condition needs and how it will be improved.

We center education with treatment so that we can address your specific beliefs, concerns, and fears. Rather than the belief that a physiotherapist will rescue you from your condition, instead, we should empower you with strategies to decrease your pain. By modifying aggravating activities and providing appropriate progressions of your goals, you’ll understand exactly what is reasonable for you. That could mean walking a block for one person and climbing Mount Everest for another.

  1. A Patient-Focused Treatment Plan

Every patient is different on how they respond to treatment. Thus every treatment plan should be unique.  Your treatment plan should be consistent with your goals and health status and incorporate approaches and techniques supported by the best evidence available.

A well-designed treatment program should complement the hands-on treatment and follow the considerable evidence that says exercise offers benefits for a multitude of health concerns that physiotherapists treat.

These exercises are not just ordinary exercises that you could find if you googled “shoulder exercises.” They are specifically picked to help you move better by targeting weak and imbalanced muscles, address decreased mobility and stability and ensure that you have appropriate coordination and timing in the entire kinetic chain.

Keep in mind –  exercise only works if you do it!

If you are having difficulty completing an exercise, or don’t like an exercise that you have been prescribed, you need to openly discuss this with your therapist. They can modify your program and help with strategies to motivate you and get you moving!


In Alberta, physiotherapy is a regulated healthcare profession. This means only qualified professionals can become registered physiotherapists and use the titles physiotherapist, physical therapist, or PT.

Physiotherapy Degree:

To become a physiotherapist in Canada you need a degree in physiotherapy and a period of supervised practical training. Depending on the university that they graduated from degrees in both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor in Health Sciences in physiotherapy.

In 2000 it was mandated that universities in Canada had to develop the Physiotherapy curriculum into a Master’s level degree within 10 years, meaning that the student had to obtain a bachelor’s degree prior to entering the Master’s program.

Advanced Degrees:

 The practice of physiotherapy continues to advance and move into new realms. It is an exciting period of growth and development for the profession and physiotherapists continue to take on new and emerging roles in health care. In the United States, the American Physical Therapy Association has mandated that all programs for Physical Therapy be at the doctoral level by 2020.

Manual Therapy Credentials:

 The highest designation that can be obtained in manual “hands-on therapy is a fellowship with the Canadian Academy of Manipulate Therapy (FCAMPT). This is an internationally recognized education program that ensures Canadians meet the standards of the International Federations of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapists (IFOMPT). FCAMPT represents years of study and high-level skills that provide accurate and focused treatment based on research-guided techniques.

Needling Designations: Intramuscular Stimulation and Functional Dry Needling

The use of needles to provide pain relief and assist injury rehabilitation has become an integral modality used in physiotherapy.

Physiotherapists who are certified in IMS were trained at ISTOP a Clinic in Vancouver that was founded by Dr. Chan Gunn. This program has recently moved to UBC under the Division of Sports Medicine. Students who choose this route must be physiotherapists or physicians and have completed a certain level of post-graduate training prior to be admitted to the course.

Functional Dry Needling was founded in 2007 by Edo Zylstra a physiotherapist trained in Colorado. The two needling techniques tend to follow the same treatment approaches and are both based on the function of a muscle and how it relates to movement and pain.



The Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute offers acupuncture training & certification to medical practitioners. Another route to obtain qualifications to use needles is through the Medical Acupuncture Program, led by Dr. Steven Aung at the University of Alberta through the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry.


And the list of Specialties continues that require additional training:

Pelvic Health physiotherapy

Vestibular physiotherapy


 Physiotherapy is an ever-changing field with new research-based programs and approaches incorporated into daily treatments all the time.  The physiotherapists at Avenue Physio are committed to ensuring that you receive the highest standard of evidence-based treatment and will continue to take courses and certifications.



What is the value of Physiotherapy?

  • Improve Quality of Life
  • Reduce Pain, swelling and stiffness
  • Reduce the need for opiods
  • Improve mobility and movement
  • Shorter recovery periods after an injury
  • Injury prevention
  • Manage Chronic illnesses
  • Avoid Surgery

How many times a week should you have physio?

For more painful and acute injuries, your physiotherapist will likely want to see you two to three times per week. For injuries that are not as severe, your therapist will likely recommend coming to the clinic 1 time per week or 1 time every two weeks.


How long should physiotherapy treatment last?

It depends!

  • On the extent of the injury – minor or major injury
  • Stage of healing – acute or chronic
  • On the tissue – bone or tendon
  • On the condition –concussion or whiplash
  • The level of commitment to the recovery – active or passive
  • Your age
  • Your general health


Interested in learning more about physiotherapy at Avenue Physio give us a call to speak directly to a Physiotherapist at 403-234-9004


Written by Kelly Barrie

Kelly is the owner of Avenue Physio and is proud to be part of a supportive and personable team that is dedicated to providing a high quality of treatment and experience to patients. She has been a physiotherapist for over 25 years treating a range of orthopedic conditions including chronic pain, motor vehicle collisions, and sports injuries (from the weekend warrior to high level). Kelly has always been passionate about movement and promoting healthy lifestyles. First, as a Certified Personal Trainer, and for the last 25 years as a physiotherapist. Kelly has completed the highest level of Certification in Manual and Manipulative Therapy that is internationally recognized (FCAMPT). Advanced knowledge of strengthening programs, manual therapy skills, and critical thinking optimize her treatment plans for her patients so they can reach their movement goals.