What is the Role of Physiotherapy with Chronic Health Conditions?

Graphic of women stretching with toddlers
Posted May 12, 2021
Ashlea Wilson
BKin(Hon), MSc(PT), Dip.Manip.PT, CMAG, FCAMPT

National physiotherapy month continues! The topic this week is related to chronic health conditions and the role of physiotherapy. Approximately 50 percent of Canadians are living with at least one chronic health condition (1). We know that the amount of health care services seniors need is dictated by the number of chronic conditions they have as opposed to their age (2).

The Canadian Physiotherapy Associations states:

“Research strongly supports the role of physiotherapists in the prevention, treatment, and management of chronic diseases, including hypertension, emphysema, Type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s, arthritis, osteoporosis, and obesity. Physiotherapy interventions, including exercise prescription, facilitate patient participation in programs that enhance and maintain physical wellbeing, which has a significant impact on quality of life and future use of health care services”.

The Canadian Physiotherapy also shares that “patients report that physiotherapy management of their chronic conditions results in decreased pain and shortness of breath (3), increased confidence and commitment to exercise (4), and enhanced social interaction (5)”. This all has an impact on a person’s quality of life and engagement with his/her community. We want to help you and the ones you love stay mobile and active for as long as possible. Physiotherapy is a tool to help educate, empower and keep you moving!

People with chronic health conditions often need education, coaching, and other interventions to help them gain the confidence, knowledge, skills, and motivation to manage the physical, social, and emotional impacts of their disease (1). Physiotherapists have a unique role to help people develop these skills, confidence and promote a greater self-management approach of these chronic health conditions. We are here to help create a game plan with you that helps move you forward towards your goals.

You can read more about this topic at: https://physiotherapy.ca/npm-2021-physiotherapy-helps-prevent-manage-chronic-disease



1. Health Council of Canada. (2012, May). Self-management support for Canadians with chronic health conditions: a focus on primary health care [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://healthcouncilcanada.ca/files/HCC_SelfManagementReport_FA.pdf

2. Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2011, January). Seniors and the Health Care System: What Is the Impact of Multiple Chronic Conditions? [PDF file] Retrieved from https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/air-chronic_disease_aib_en.pdf

3. Clemens, K.E., Jaspers, B., Klaschik, E., & Nieland, P. (2010, November). Evaluation of the clinical effectiveness of physiotherapeutic management of lymphoedema in palliative care patients. Jpn J Clin Oncol., 40(11), 1068-72. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyq093

4. Park, Y.H., Song, M., Cho, B.L., Lim, J.Y., Song, W., & Kim, S.H. (2011, January). The effects of an integrated health education and exercise program in community-dwelling older adults with hypertension: a randomized controlled trial. Patient Educ Couns., 82(1), 133-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.04.002

5. Canadian Physiotherapy Association. (2012). The Value of Physiotherapy | Joint Arthoplasty [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://physiotherapy.ca/sites/default/files/valuePT/cpa_valuept_jointarthroplasty-en.pdf