A physiotherapist is someone who examines, diagnoses, and treats neuromusculoskeletal conditions. In simple terms they treat conditions of the muscles, nerves, bones, joints, tendons and ligaments. They treat neck and back pain, shoulder and arm pain, hip, knee, foot and ankle pain. They treat any condition that causes pain or disability in the bones, joints and soft tissues of the body. Sometimes the physiotherapist can completely “cure” the condition and sometimes they can make the patient move and function better and decrease their pain, but cannot fully resolve the patient’s condition. More recent injuries respond better to physiotherapy than chronic, older conditions. If your shoulder pops out of its socket and you have a physiotherapist treat it right away it is very likely you will have a complete return to normal function with no long lasting pain or disability in the shoulder. On the other hand, if you wait a few months to have the physiotherapist treat your shoulder (because you thought it was going to get better on its own) there is a possibility that you will have permanent pain or disability in the shoulder. Active release therapy (A.R.T.) is a technique where the physiotherapist works with her hands to break down scar tissue and make the joint and surrounding soft tissues function more smoothly and efficiently. Although the treatment is sometimes painful for some people, it is very safe, with no lasting side effects, and it is very effective. Where passive physiotherapy such as massage and applications of heat might make the problem feel better for a short period of time, A.R.T. works to solve the underlying problem. The saying “short term pain for long term gain” applies to active release therapy. Many patients feel relief after only one treatment, and many only start to feel better after 3 or 4 sessions, but it is very rare that A.R.T. doesn’t work for joint and muscle problems. An active release specialist physiotherapist such as Michelle Chen who works at Dr. Allan Horowitz & Associates chiropractic and physiotherapy clinic has post graduate training in active release therapy. She is an expert at diagnosing and treating neuromusculoskeletal conditions and she has been a very busy and successful physiotherapist for many years at Dr. Horowitz’s clinic in Richmond Hill. Sometimes A.R.T. isn’t the therapy that is needed and other methods of physiotherapy are better able to fix the presenting problem. When choosing a physiotherapy clinic make sure the physiotherapist has all the tools, knowledge and techniques available to treat your condition, no matter what it is. Also, choose a clinic that is open hours that are convenient for your schedule. You will likely have to attend for several sessions and probably they will be once or twice or three times a week, especially early in your therapy. If the clinic isn’t open during the hours you are free to attend then there is no point going to that clinic. Look for a clinic that is open early and/or late in the day, and perhaps open on the weekend when you might have more time to go for your appointments. Dr. Allan Horowitz & Associates chiropractic and physiotherapy clinic is open during the week until 7p and is also open on Saturdays and Sundays. Whichever physiotherapy clinic you choose make sure the physiotherapist who will be treating you is knowledgeable and skilled, and make sure the clinic is convenient. When physiotherapy is needed to treat an injury or degenerative condition it is often very effective when done properly. Make sure you listen to your physiotherapist when they give you exercises to do at home. If you listen to the physiotherapist, do your home exercises, show up for each appointment, and listen to any other advice you are given, it is highly likely you will have great results from your physiotherapy treatments.