What is the difference between a chartered physiotherapist and a physiotherapist?

Within physiotherapy, there are quite a few terms that can create some confusion among the general public. One good example is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy.

Within Ontario, both terms actually mean the same thing: a physical therapist is the same as a physiotherapist. However, in other regions of the world, the terms may represent differing qualifications. This means you may have a significantly different experience depending on whether you see a physiotherapist or a physical therapist.

Within Ontario, the physiotherapist title is restricted. Only individuals who are registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario may use the title physiotherapist. In addition, registered individuals can also use variations and short forms, including physical therapist and PT, as well as equivalent forms in other languages. It is actually illegal for individuals who are not registered with the college to use any of these titles.

In other parts of the world such as Ireland, the term chartered physiotherapist is used to describe someone who is a member of the professional regulating body in that region. This term is used as evidence of both formal education and training in physiotherapy, as well as being governed by a regulating body. In these parts of the world, the term physiotherapist does not actually indicate the same level of formal training or regulation. Thus, depending on where you are in the world, and what kind of services you are looking for, it may be important to distinguish between a chartered physiotherapist and a physiotherapist.

How much should a physio session cost?

Similar to the structure of physiotherapy, the cost will vary significantly depending on where you go. Generally physiotherapy in the more populated areas of Ontario will cost more. For example, physiotherapy in Toronto will cost significantly more than physiotherapy in Kitchener. Within Ontario physiotherapy always starts with an initial assessment, which is typically 45 minutes to 1 hour. The assessment usually costs between 95 and 120 dollars. After the initial assessment, the following physiotherapy treatments range between 15 to 30 minutes. The cost per 15 minute block often ranges between 23.75 to 30.00 dollars. Keep in mind that this may vary greatly depending on what clinic you go to, and where it is in Ontario. Some clinics may have prices and appointment times outside of the ranges listed here. If you’re looking to have treatments longer than 15 to 30 minutes, that can also significantly increase the price of your physiotherapy sessions.

Furthermore, specializations within physiotherapy will also cost more than the usual appointment. For example, pelvic health physiotherapy and concussion physiotherapy can be more expensive than orthopaedic physiotherapy services. It’s also important to consult with your insurance provider to see if you have coverage for physiotherapy services, as this may greatly alter the cost.

How many times a week should you do physical therapy?

The frequency of your physical therapy appointments may vary depending on what you’re receiving treatment for. For example, if you’re receiving physical therapy for an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, you may attend appointments more frequently. In this case it would make sense to attend physical therapy appointments twice per week in the early stages.

Generally, as you progress through physical therapy, your appointments should reduce in frequency. This is because you should be learning skills and treatment strategies that you can use to independently manage your injury. While physical therapy is a place to receive treatment, part of that treatment involves learning how to help and treat yourself.

With the guidance of a physical therapist, you can progress in your recovery, and may not need as much assistance over time. For most individuals, it would be normal to start out attending physical therapy appointments twice per week. However, if it has been several months, and you’re still attending physical therapy appointments twice per week, that may be a sign that you need more independent management strategies to help with your recovery.

Your appointment frequency may also vary significantly based on how much hands-on treatment you require. For those who need a lot of hands-on therapy, they will need to attend more frequent appointments. On the other hand, those who do not require as much hands-on therapy may be comfortable with weekly or even bi-weekly appointments.

Ultimately, it will be important for you to discuss the most suitable appointment frequency with your therapist. Please contact Strive Physiotherapy & Performance if you have any further questions. 

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