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National Physiotherapy Month 2003
by Alberta Physiotherapy Association
April 20, 2003

What does physiotherapy have to do with gardening?

Physiotherapists have the education and applied knowledge to offer techniques people can use when gardening that may help prevent the aches, pains, sprains and breaks often associated with such labour-intensive activity. With a few tips and preventable measures, such as stretching, pacing activity and proper lifting, physiotherapists can keep gardeners moving this spring.

What is physiotherapy?

When you are free to move – when you have mobility – you feel better and enjoy life more. Physiotherapy is the health care profession dedicated to enhancing and restoring that mobility. Physiotherapy’s unique contribution to health care stems from its advanced understanding of how the body moves, what keeps it from moving well and how to restore mobility.

Why gardening?

For a number of reasons:

  • People of all ages participate in gardening activities.

  • Every spring, thousands of Canadians hit their yards in a splurge of garden activity.

  • Sore necks, backs, knees and muscles as well as blistered hands are often the result of these bursts of activity.

  • Most gardening-related injuries are preventable, and physiotherapists know how to help.

Where do physiotherapists work?

In the community: Physiotherapists deliver rehabilitation care in clinics, hospitals and homes. They teach prenatal and postnatal classes; perform posture and scoliosis screenings in schools and provide back care education to prevent back injury and pain.

In industry: Physiotherapists determine fitness requirements for specific jobs, evaluate employees with respect to job-related physical needs, identify potentially dangerous work sites and modify task performance to prevent job-related injuries.

In sports: Physiotherapists evaluate performance weakness of athletes, condition athletes to correct physical deficiencies, recommend safety equipment to reduce injuries and develop fitness programs for all segments of the general public.

In research: Physiotherapists perform basic research to develop and apply new technologies for patient care and design and conduct studies on the effectiveness of physical therapy.

How do I find a physiotherapist?

Finding a physiotherapist may vary from province to province. Here are some suggestions:

  • Check the yellow pages of your local telephone book for listings of physiotherapists and physiotherapy clinics. You can call a physiotherapist directly, without a doctor’s referral, to request an appointment.

  • Ask for a recommendation from your family doctor. While a direct referral is not necessary, your physician may be able to suggest a physiotherapist who may be able to help with your particular concern. Further, while many physiotherapy services are covered by provincial health care plans as well as Workers Compensation plans and private insurance, many require a doctor’s referral for reimbursement.

  • Visit the web site of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association at to find out more information about physiotherapy.


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