Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the difference between sports physiotherapy and orthopaedics physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists are university trained members of the health care team and with our in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, we have specialized hands-on clinical skills for assessment, diagnoses and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. There are many practice areas in physiotherapy; sports physiotherapy and orthopaedic physiotherapy are areas of physiotherapy practice in the community. Sports Physiotherapy is physiotherapy treatment for sports injuries while orthopaedic physiotherapy is the treatment of muscle and joints injuries which is not exclusively caused from sports injury. See our services page for a list of the treatment options.  Sports Physiotherapists can work directly with athletes or can provide consultations to sport organisations.

How many sessions of treatment do I need?

Depending on the injury with respect to severity, acuity, and individual progress this question cannot be answered with a specific number. On your first session at our Burnaby Physio office a thorough examination will be done to determine the nature of the injury. This will allow the therapist to give you an estimate on how long it will take to rehabilitate your injury.

Does physiotherapy really work?

Individual progress is variable with treatment, but the majority of patients respond well to physiotherapy. Constant reassessment and re-evaluation is done by the physiotherapist to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. Physiotherapy is a joint effort between patients and their therapist. Our therapists are here to treat musculoskeletal injuries, but are also there to provide you with the tools to help you be an active participant in your rehabilitation.

Do I need a referral for physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists are primary health care practitioners and no referral is needed for physiotherapy treatment. However individual insurance companies may require a physician’s referral for reimbursement. Please check with your insurance company (Sun life, Manulife, Green Shield, Pacific Blue Cross, etc..) to see what their requirements are.

Do I need to bring anything for my treatment?

Doctor’s referral if you have one

Care card number

ICBC claims: ICBC claim number, doctor’s referral, and contact information for your adjuster

WorkSafe BC claims:  WorkSafe Claim number, Date of injury, Employer contact information

Will physiotherapy help with my arthritis?

Physiotherapy treatment is well supported in literature with helping people with Osteoarthritis manage their symptoms. Arthritis can be a debilitating condition, as joint inflammation causes your joints to be painful, which can gradually decrease your mobility. Maintaining strong and flexible muscles will help decrease the load on your joints, which will help decrease pain. Different types of braces and splints can also help decrease the load on your joints. Various hand splints are useful to improve the alignment for hand function for people who have rheumatoid arthritis. Using ice, contrast baths, and paraffin wax for arthritic hands are also helpful strategies to manage pain.

Third Party Payment Questions

Will MSP pay for my physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy was delisted from MSP in 2002 for all those who are not on premium assistance. If you have premium assistance you may qualify for physiotherapy coverage. The BC government has combined all practitioners as part of a 10 visit per year limit. These practitioners include acupuncturist services, physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, naturopathy and non-surgical podiatry. We do have a user fee for MSP premium assistance patients as MSP does not cover our full private rate. A user fee will be applied for each visit, please see above fee schedule. If you are not sure if you have premium assistance, contact us, and we can check for you.

Will Work Safe BC pay for my physiotherapy treatment?

We are now part of the WorkSafeBC Physiotherapy Network. We are able to bill WorkSafeBC directly as long as you have an accepted claim. If your claim is pending, your first session of physiotherapy is still covered. If your claim is still not accepted before your second appointment, you can either wait until you claim is accepted before coming for more treatments, or you can pay upfront for your treatments and we will reimburse you when your claim is accepted. If your claim is not accepted we cannot reimburse you for the treatment fees, but you can claim your physiotherapy treatments through your extended health benefits.

Can my coverage through Extended Health Benefits be billed directly?

We are currently able to bill to most extended health plans. To see the list of all insurers please visit or direct billing page Please bring your member ID card with your plan and policy number with you on your first visit. If you have another carrier who is not on our direct billing list you will have to pay for your session first and we will provide you with a receipt to claim your physiotherapy session to your insurance carrier. Individual plans may vary, please consult with your insurance provider for more information.

Can my coverage through the RCMP or Candian Military be billed directly?

We are able to directly bill the insurance companies for these two groups.

My doctor has told me to come for physiotherapy treatment after a motor vehicle accident. What steps do I take to make sure ICBC pays for it?

Firstly, you need to make a personal injury claim with ICBC and you will be provided with 25 sessions of physiotherapy coverage within 90 days of your accident.

My doctor has given me a referral for another physiotherapy office. May I still come to your office if I choose to?

You have the choice to come to our North Burnaby Physio office or any other office that you feel would be most appropriate for you.

How do I get ICBC to approve treatment?

Once a personal injury is made you are automatically approved for an initial 25 visits within 12 weeks of the initial accident. A valid claim number is required. If more than 25 or more than 12 weeks of treatment is needed, your physiotherapist will submit a reporting to ICBC requesting for more treatment.

What is the ICBC user fee?

Our clinic is able to bill ICBC directly for physiotherapy services with a valid claim number. Unfortunately they do not cover the full cost of our fee, thus a $7 dollars applies for each visit.

Do I get the ICBC user fee back?

After April 1, 2019, ICBC will no longer reimburse individuals for physiotherapy user fees. The $ 7 user fee we charge to recuperate our full fee and maybe submitted to your extended health plan or saved for income tax purposes.

The doctor says I have whiplash after my car accident, what is whiplash exactly?

Whiplash is an injury caused by an acceleration/deceleration. When you are in a motor vehicle accident the force of the impact accelerates your body, deceleration occurs when your body strikes a part of the car. For example, whiplash is a common term for having a neck injury after a car accident. If you are rear ended your body goes forward initially and your head stays back and extends potentially hitting the head rest during the acceleration phase. Then the forward motion of the body is rapidly stopped by your seat belt and your head goes forward during the deceleration phase.  This causes the muscles in the neck to be strained and can also sprain ligaments in your neck.