Physiotherapists were initially recognized as first line practitioners in 1985 and this was re-affirmed in 1997. Being a first line practitioner means that the public has direct access to such a professional, without needing a referral.
The implications that follow are that a physiotherapist has independent judgment in making a diagnosis and presenting solutions to a patient. We are also permitted to refer a patient for x-rays, ultrasound scans or to a specialist. If a patient presents with something that falls out of our scope of practice, we will refer the patient on to the appropriate health care professional.
During the holiday season there is a lot of heavy lifting of suitcases, sleeping on different beds and pillows which can result in stiff painful necks and backs. One tends to do quite a bit of unaccustomed activity or more activity than normal, which can result in muscle and joint pains. Others may need to continue a treatment plan they have started at home, following an injury or surgery.
Please be advised, that should you fall into any of the above categories, you may consult a physiotherapist directly, without needing to see a doctor first.
Keep safely active!