This May, for National Physiotherapy Month, Ontario Physiotherapy Association members share the impact of physiotherapists’ scope of practice on their communities.

Jennifer Howey, PT:

“Movement is life and life is movement.” As physiotherapists, we are movement specialists, with the ability to diagnose and treat movement disorders and injury. Our scope of practice goes beyond the treatment room. It includes public education, injury prevention and promoting healthy activity throughout the spectrum of life. In today’s sedentary world, it is more important than ever to encourage movement with every generation.

At InsideOut Physiotherapy and Wellness Group, we found that Nordic Pole Walking (NPW) – walking with Nordic walking sticks- is fun, inexpensive, and people of any age or exercise ability can benefit. It can get us moving and keep us moving! NPW has been shown to help people rehabilitate post surgery, those with chronic conditions, diabetes, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s Disease and many more.

As a clinic, we have developed a significant NPW program with a great deal of community outreach. InsideOut has had a 6-year collaboration with the Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association and University of Hong Kong Physiotherapy program. Two InsideOut physiotherapists went to Hong Kong and trained 25 physiotherapists to be instructors and started to support research within the University on NPW and its benefits with patients with Parkinson’s Disease. In Hong Kong, physiotherapists now get funding for NPW programs within their rehabilitation and community settings. We are currently advocating to get similar approval in Ontario.

As a physiotherapist, one of my proudest moments was when we had a group of clients enter as Nordic Pole walkers in the Scotiabank 5km walk. These clients would have not thought they were capable of doing an event like this! One of the participants had come to us using a scooter for full-time ambulation seven months earlier. She was completely deconditioned, having suffered years of low back pain and multiple chronic problems. We worked with her, using our physiotherapy treatment and home program that included NPW.  Seven months later she was one of the participants completing in this 5 km walk, using the poles. She was so proud of her accomplishment she signed up for two more that year.

It is the impact we can have on the lives of others that motivate me as a physiotherapist and clinic owner. Happy National Physiotherapy Month!”

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