Patient Information & FAQs
To receive physiotherapy and massage therapy, do I need a referral from my physician?
You can see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral in Ontario. Physiotherapists are primary care practitioners which means that people have direct access to physiotherapy services without the need for a physician referral. Although, in some circumstances such as publicly funded Community Physiotherapy Clinics, or some extended health insurance plans, a physician or nurse practitioner referral is required to access funding.
(source: Ontario Physiotherapy Association)
What happens during my first visit?
It's helpful to arrive 15 minutes early for your appointment. This will give you time to complete your paperwork and take a few minutes to relax and unwind. Your first visit consists of initial evaluations that will last 45 minutes to one hour. During your first visit, your therapist will ask you many questions to gather a thorough medical history and perform an in-depth physical evaluation. This ensures that our therapists have all of the information needed to design the most effective treatment plan for your specific injury.
What should I bring to my appointment?
Dress in your most comfortable clothes. If we will need to examine your lower extremities, you should wear or bring shorts. If we need to examine your shoulder, please bring or wear a sleeveless shirt. Remove obstructive jewelry before getting on the table. Necklaces, long earrings, watches and bracelets. Rings are not a major obstruction and can remain on your fingers. Also, please make sure to bring any doctor’s prescriptions or instructions; any documentation of prior visits to other clinics, X-ray or MRI results.
How long will it take to recover from my injury?
Every injury is different, so it is difficult to say. Our therapists are dedicated to doing everything necessary to get you back to your pre-injury condition as soon as possible. Following your first visit, your therapist will explain your treatment plan to you and make sure that your referring doctor is kept up-to-date about your treatment plan and progress.
What are my payment options?
Most health insurances will cover physical therapy. We work closely with many companies who finance medical treatment and we also accept cash, credit cards, and debit. For a complete list of all insurances and medical financing companies that we accept, please visit our Coverage & Forms page or call our office. Our staff is available to help you understand your options.
How do I know if I should see a massage therapist, or a physiotherapist?
If you are referred by a doctor, he or she will typically refer you specifically for physical therapy, or massage therapy. If you come to us without seeing your general practitioners or family physicians first, one of our physical therapists will help you determine who you should see. One of the advantages we have at First Care Physiotherapy & Massage Therapy Clinic is that we apply a combination of therapies without you having to visit multiple clinics.
What is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a university educated health professional and a recognized member of your health care team.
Physiotherapists work in many areas including: cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, neurology, paediatrics, women's health, seniors' health, and sports.
When you see a physiotherapist, he or she will complete an extensive assessment that may include your health history, evaluation of pain and movement patterns, strength, joint range of motion, reflexes, sensation and cardiorespiratory status. In addition, the physiotherapist examines relevant xrays, laboratory tests, medical records and surgical notes. Based on this assessment the physiotherapist establishes a diagnosis and works in partnership with you to develop individualized goals and treatment programs.
Physiotherapy treatment can include therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, acupuncture, electrical modalities such as TENS or ultrasound, and work hardening. A physiotherapist promotes independence. Emphasis is placed on what you can do for yourself and on education to prevent future injuries or disability.
(source: Ontario Physiotherapy Association)
What is a Registered Massage Therapist?
A Registered Massage Therapist is an individual who has:
Completed competency-based education at educational institutions recognized by the Government of Ontario;
Studied anatomy, physiology, pathology, physical assessment, neurology, treatments, ethics and other subjects;
Completed a minimum of 2200 clinical hours in a recognized school for massage therapy;
Successfully completed examinations from and have been "registered" by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario (the College) in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act and the Massage Therapy Act;
Maintained their registration by participating in continuing education and a Quality Assurance Program that assists them in the maintenance of high professional standards and quality care of their clients.
Only members of the College are permitted to use the title, Massage Therapist or Registered Massage Therapist or the designation of RMT or MT.
(Source: Registered Massage Therapist Association of Ontario)
What diagnoses can be helped with physical therapy?
Physical therapists typically treat injuries related to muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and other musculoskeletal injuries. These can include but are not limited to sprains, strains, muscle soreness, muscle weakness, headaches and more.
How often do I need to come to the clinic for therapy?
Your therapist will let you know how often you will need to have therapy. Every injury is different, so you may need to come in multiple times per week or only once in a while.
How long is a therapy session?
Initial evaluations are typically 45 minutes to one hour, and follow-up visits are 30 minutes.
Can I talk during my therapy session, or is silence preferred?
Some people like to talk during a massage, while others prefer silence and relaxation. As far as we’re concerned, do what feels most comfortable for you and we will follow suit.
Is it alright to request a specific therapist or gender?
Absolutely! We will do everything we can to make your visit comfortable and accommodate any special requests you may have.
What should I do after my visit?
Drink lots of water. Water flushes out the minerals that were released during your massage while rehydrating your muscles and reducing potential soreness. Make sure you schedule your next visit if your therapist indicates that another visit is necessary. If your therapist prescribed any sort of home-exercise program, be sure to follow through with it. Follow your therapist’s guidance about resting your injury.
How can I schedule an appointment?
Simply contact us to schedule your appointment. Our staff will be happy to assist you.
Are same-day appointments available?
Yes, same-day appointments are available, so long as our therapists have an opening. We also have early morning and evening appointments available for those looking for a spot before or after work.
If you have a question you don’t see answered here, we’re still happy to answer it.
Just give us a call, or send us an email.