Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions? We've got answers!


  • Is physiotherapy covered by insurance?
    Many extended benefit plans cover all or a significant portion of physiotherapy assessment and treatment fees. To learn about your specific plans coverage, we recommend that you get in touch with your insurance provider directly.
  • Do I need a prescription or doctors referral to access physiotherapy?
    No. Physiotherapists have been considered Primary Health Professionals since 1995. With this change physiotherapy services may be accessed directly without a referral from your physician. However, if you have an extended health care provider, the provider may still require a physician’s referral to physical therapy before reimbursing your fees.
  • How soon after my injury should I attend physical therapy?
    If there are any immediate medical concerns, please see your Physician to assess these concerns and ensure that there are no contraindications to beginning physiotherapy. If there are no immediate medical concerns, or once any medical concerns have been cleared, accessing Physical Therapy immediately can help with an accurate diagnosis, ensure a proper environment for healing of your injury and prevent any delays in healing.
  • Does Alberta Health Care cover Physical Therapy?
    No. Unfortunately, Alberta Health Care has not funded Physical Therapy since 1995. However, Innovation Physical Therapy is pleased to provide you with an Alberta Health Services funded assessment for general Physical Therapy (Belvedere and Riverbend offices only). Please note this is for one assessment per treatment site per year (April 1 – March 31 the following year).

    Following your assessment, your Physical Therapist will inform you as to whether you qualify for a maximum of two (2) additional sessions based on the Determination of Need (DON) form. Funding for these sessions is limited through Alberta Health Services and may require that patients be placed on a waiting list to receive the next available funded assessment.

    Many patients choose to look after their sessions privately until funding is available. There are special provisions for fractures and surgeries, and low income situations. These sessions are provided through Ambulatory Community Physiotherapy Services, a branch of Alberta Health Services.

    There are no wait lists associated with funding if qualified for fracture, surgery, and low income sessions.
  • Can the clinic direct bill my extended health benefit plan?
    Currently our clinics are set up for direct billing through Alberta Blue Cross (including Alberta School Employee Benefits Plan, RCMP, Department of Veterans Affairs), Sunlife, Standard Life, Manulife, Great West Life, Chamber of Commerce and Johnston Insurance (also known by Maximum Benefits).

    We are working with other benefits providers to allow direct billing through our facilities.

    Please feel free to contact our office to see if your extended health plan allows direct billing for physiotherapy or massage. We are also able to direct bill on your behalf to motor vehicle insurance companies (as legislated by the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols of Alberta) and WCB.
  • Do I get one on one time with the therapist?
    Absolutely! We focus on providing one and one treatments with our patients. In addition to time spent directly with your physiotherapist, you may also interact with physiotherapy assistants as they assist with modality set ups and take downs and exercise supervision.
  • What can I expect from a typical physiotherapy session?
    At Innovation Physical Therapy, our first step in managing your injury is to perform a detailed assessment to accurately determine what it is we need to focus on. Following the assessment, our Physical Therapists will provide you with a balanced orthopaedic Physical Therapy treatment plan, which may include but is not limited to, manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, thermal modalities, electrical modalities and/or acupuncture.
  • Why do I need to have an assessment?
    An assessment is needed to get to the root of your pain and movement related problems. An assessment allows us to identify the cause of your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, establish goals for treatment and develop a treatment plan.
  • How many times will I have to attend treatment?
    This is a difficult question to answer without any context. The number of treatments you'll have to attend depends on many things including the severity of your injury, other medical issues and goals for treatment. Following your initial assessment, your physiotherapist will be able to give you a timeframe for your recovery.
  • Why am I feeling worse after my first session?
    You may feel sore following your initial assessment, because in an effort to get to the root of your pain, your physiotherapist needs to idenitfy what reproduces your pain. But don't worry, part of your initial assessment will include a discussion about ways to decrease and manage your pain post assessment.
  • What is the process to book in for an assessment?
    Booking a physiotherapy assessment is really easy! All you need to do is call an Innovation Physical Therapy clinic and choose a day and time that works best for you. No doctors prescription or referral is needed, unless specified by your extended health benefit plan.
  • What should I wear for my appointment?
    Please wear something that you are comfortable in. Your Physical Therapist will need to see the area of the body that is being assessed/treated, so please ensure that that area can be exposed. We always have shorts, T-shirts, and gowns available so don’t worry if you don’t have appropriate clothing with you.
  • How long does it take for an assessment and/or treatment?
    The initial assessment may take a little while longer than regular visits. For your assessment, you'll find yourself at the clinic for approximately an hour while treatment visits last around 30 to 45 minutes.
  • What is my treatment going to consist of?
    Each patients' treatment plan is individualized to meet his or her specific needs. In general a physical therapy treatment might include manual therapy, an individualized exercise program, modalities for pain relief, acupuncture or dry needling, education.
  • I am in quite a bit of pain today. Should I still come for my appointment?
    Some of our goals through physical therapy are to decrease pain, improve function, improve mobility and strength, decrease inflammation and swelling, and to give you the proper tools to manage your injury at home.

    Sometimes, when your injury is quite irritable, your physical therapist can provide different remedies to help settle down your symptoms and instruct you on the necessary tools to help you manage at home.

    However, if the benefit of coming in does not outweigh the suffering you would experience in travelling to the clinic, it may be best to reschedule your appointment.

Aches & Pains

  • How does TENS and IFC help my pain?
    Both TENS and IFC work to modulate your pain through similar mechanisms. Receptors on our skin are stimulated through the gentle vibrations created by TENS and IFC electrodes. This non-painful stimulus blocks the entry of painful stimulus and prevents a pain message being sent to our brain.

    Generally, TENS works to provide pain relief and IFC works to provide an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • When do you use heat and when do you use ice?
    Both heat and ice can be useful in the management of an injury however in certain circumstances one may be better than another. In general, use ice with new or acute injuries to calm down signs of inflammation (heat, redness and swelling). Use heat to treat older or chronic injuries and muscle tightness.
  • What is the purpose of the muscle stim?
    Electrical muscle stimulation is a modality used in the treatment of pain and swelling, in the recruitment of weak or underutilized muscle and/or to promote tissue healing.
  • How strong should the TENS/IFC feel?
    A TENS or IFC modality should always be strong but comfortable. Comfortable internsity will differ between patients, but it should always be painfree.
  • If have a stiff low back when I wake up. What should I do?
    Joint and low back stiffness is common complaint that may benefit from physical therapy interventions such as pain modalities, an active exercise program and manual therapy to improve joint mobility, range of motion and strength. Schedule your physiotherapy assessment today.

Specialty Services

  • What is manual therapy?
    Manual Therapy is a “hands on” approach with injuries relating to structures forming joints, together with associated muscles, connective tissues (ligaments and tendons), and nerve tissue. Manual therapy may include deep tissue techniques in the form of massage or friction, joint mobilization, and/or soft tissue (e.g. muscles and nerves) mobilization.

    Manual therapy may also involve manipulation of the joints or spine by a certified professional. This involves moving a joint beyond its dysfunctional motion limits but still within its anatomical limits. A manipulative technique indicates that a controlled high speed and localized thrust is performed which may or may not result the patient experiencing a “popping” sensation that is usually painless.

    The goal of manual therapy techniques is to reduce pain and restore movement and function to joints and accompanying soft tissue structures.
  • What is the purpose of the traction unit?
    Traction is a treatment technique that when combined with exercise and manual therapy can help ease neck and back pain. Traction can be applied by a therapist during manual therapy, but can also be applied for a longer period of time using a traction machine.

    In essence, traction applies a gentle force to elongate the joint spaces decreasing the pressure on joints and nerve roots. This treatment can be especially effective for people suffering from disc related nerve pain and spinal stenosis.
  • I have a prescription for orthotics. Does Innovation Physical Therapy provide orthotic services?
    Yes. Our Innovation Physical Therapy offices are pleased to provide computer generated gait scans and orthotics through The Orthotic Group. We have gait analysis and orthotics specialists at each of our Belvedere, Namao, and Riverbend locations.
  • Do you have massage therapy available at your clinics?
    At this time, we offer massage therapy only at our Namao clinic. For more information, please visit our clinic pages.
  • What is the difference between acupuncture and IMS?
    Both acupuncture and IMS are dry needling techniques used to treat pain and inflammation typically associated with musckuloskeletal injuries and conditions. The biggest difference between these two techniques is that acupuncture is based on principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is guided by a set of pre-determined points meant to modulate pain by manipulating Chi in the body.

    IMS on the other hand, is based on western medicine's understanding of muscles and nerves and is used in the treatment of neuropathic pain in the body. During IMS, the therapist will insert an acupuncture needle into tight bands of muscle along the spine and the affected muscles.
  • "Why can't you bill my benefits for acupuncture?
    Typically insurance companies view acupuncture provided by a physiotherapist to be part of a physiotherapy treatment. To have acupuncture treatments covered under your acupuncture allowance the service must be provided by a registered acupuncturist.
  • Do you have acupuncture or IMS/GTT available at your clinics?
    Absolutely. All of our facilities have Physical Therapists who are certified in acupuncture and/or IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation). Another form of dry needling that is similar to IMS is GTT (Gokavi Transverse Techniques).

    Please inform our office that this is a form of treatment you are requesting and we will schedule you with the appropriate Physical Therapist.

Sports Injuries

  • Do your physical therapists treat athletic injuries?
    Yes. Innovation Physical Therapy’s Physical Therapists have been trained in numerous orthopaedic dysfunctions, including athletic injuries. We are proud to have Physical Therapists who are affiliated with, and treat, various professional and elite level athletic organizations. For more information about how we treat sports injuries please visit our sports injury page here.
  • What are ways I can prevent a sports injury?
    Staying injury free means identifying weakness and ensuring a healthy balance throughout the body. Physiotherapists are trained to assess and identify muscle imbalances that could impact mobility, strength and agility. We work with you to develop a prevention program that will keep you in the game.
  • Should I continue to run if I have knee pain?
    If you commonly experience knee pain while running, it would be worthwhile to schedule an assessment with your physiotherapist. It's recommended that you discontinue running until that time. Often there is some imbalance or weakness that could be contributing to your pain.

    We recommend avoiding regular running if you are experiencing knee pain until you've had a comprehensive physical examination by one of our physiotherapists.
  • I think I may have a concussion from hockey. Can I keep playing?
    If you think that you might have sustained a concussion from sport, it's recommended that you undergo a period of physical and mental rest. Once concussion symptoms, like dizziness, nausea, headaches, etc. begin to subside, a gradual return to sport can begin as long as symptoms continue to improve.

    For more information and treatment following a concussion schedule an assessment with one of our specially trained concussion physiotherapists today.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

  • I've been injured in a motor vehicle accident. How should I proceed?
    If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, please ensure that the accident has been reported to your motor vehicle insurance provider. If there are any immediate medical concerns, please see your Physician to assess these concerns and ensure that there are no contraindications to beginning Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy coverage for MVA injuries may be accessed through the Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols or Section B Protocols.
  • My physiotherapist indicated I have 21 sessions covered by my insurance company for my MVA. Why did that get used up in 14 sessions?
    The 21 treatments allocated within MVA treatment protocols can be used more quickly if the treatment of more than one body part is required. One treatment unit is designated per body site which may change the number of sessions covered.
  • Should I wear a collar after injuring my neck in a car accident?
    No, research shows that wearing a cervical collar after a neck injury or car accident can actually lead to worsening of symptoms. Schedule a physiotherapy assessment if you've been in a car accident, and we'll help you on your road to recovery!
Our physiotherapy team is a part of your community. See How

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