Ask a Physio Corner

Your most commonly asked questions, answered!

QDo I need a doctor’s note to see a physiotherapist?

A: Physiotherapists are primary health care workers. As a result you do not need a doctors note to start Physiotherapy. Some patients extended benefits need a doctors note on file once they have had a certain number of physiotherapy treatments. However, most patients extended benefits do not require a doctors note.


Q: I was in a car accident in BC, does ICBC cover my physiotherapy sessions?

A: If you are seeking physiotherapy treatments within 12 weeks of your accident, you are pre-approved for 25 physiotherapy sessions. Provided you have a valid claim number you are able to start physiotherapy treatments.

Q: I’ve injured myself at work, does WorkSafeBC cover my physiotherapy sessions?

A: If you are seeking physiotherapy treatments within 60 days of your injury and have an approved claim. You are covered for 6 weeks after the Initial Assessment.  You must provide us with valid claim number to start your physiotherapy sessions.  For more information, give us a call at 604-731-7319.


Q: I’ve never been to physiotherapy before what can I expect during my first visit?

A: The first visit will consist of a subjective assessment where your physiotherapist will ask some questions regarding your pain or injury. An objective assessment will also be done where the physiotherapist will perform tests to confirm the diagnosis of your injury. Once that has been communicated with you, a treatment plan will be developed and then treatment will begin.


Q: What is good posture for sitting?

A: For static posture, typically it is recommended that the chin be tucked back, shoulder blades set back (but not squeezing too hard), more flat in the upper back, and slightly tilted forward at the pelvis. Often times, the best position is the “next” position. Meaning, rather than hold a certain position for an hour, get up 2-3 times an hour so that you aren’t stuck in one spot for too long.


Q: How much pain is “ok”? 

A: It will always vary from person to person, and the amount of pain someone is starting with, but as a general rule, we can suggest a 2/10 pain difference during an activity is reasonable, as long as it goes down to baseline within 30-60 minutes after the activity has stopped. For example, if someone starts with 3/10 pain in the knee and it goes up to 5/10 it is ok, as long as it goes back down to 3/10 after. If not, it means the person likely surpassed the pain threshold that is ideal and they need to consider that the next time they try the activity.


Q: What does a pelvic health physiotherapist do, in an internal exam?
A: A pelvic health physiotherapist will ask your consent to assess, vaginally or rectally, your pelvic floor muscles and some of the surrounding tissue.
Often pelvic health exams are vaginal, and are always meant to be pain-free unless directly testing a painful client concern. Internal exams assess pelvic floor muscle strength, endurance, and your fine control or coordination of these muscles.


Q: I started leaking urine. Should I start doing a lot of Kegels, also known as pelvic floor muscle strength training?
A: Not necessarily. You can leak urine from having too tight of a pelvic floor, a pelvic floor that does not react to pressure (think sneeze or cough!) with the right timing, or a pelvic floor that is weak. You can also leak urine from some types of nerve changes, because of your bladder habits that affect the ‘urge’ to go, or because of other reasons.
If you start leaking urine, it’s worth seeing a health care practitioner such as a pelvic health physiotherapist to point you in the right direction.