Do I need a Doctor’s Referral to see a Physiotherapist in BC, Canada?
February 18, 2023

You don't need a doctor's referral to see a physiotherapist in BC. In fact, physiotherapists are primary care practitioners, so you can visit them without a referral.

However, some extended health plans may require a referral before they will reimburse you for your treatment. It's also possible that you'll need one if you plan on visiting a publicly funded community physiotherapy clinic.

Check with your insurance provider to find out if this applies to you before starting treatment at a particular clinic.

How do I know if I need Physiotherapy?

If you have a condition that requires regular physical therapy, it can be difficult to find the right professionals. That's where a referral from your primary care doctor (PCP) comes in handy. A referral from your PCP lets your know that you need to see a physiotherapist and helps streamline the process. 

To get a referral, follow these steps: 

  1. Have your PCP write up an assessment summary of your needs. 
  2. After writing up an assessment summary, ask your doctor why a physiotherapist is needed and what type of services would best meet your needs. 
  3. Your PCP will discuss the details with you about how long it may take to see results from seeing a physiotherapist and what type of results you could expect. 
  4. Find out if there are any clinical practice guidelines for this condition with which you should work as part of seeing a physiotherapist.

Point of contact for your physiotherapist request

Once you have your referral, it's time to follow through. 

To find a physiotherapist in BC near you, search the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia website. You can then call or email them to make an appointment. Some clinics also have an online booking functionality to make it convenient for patients.

How to find a BC Physiotherapy Practice That's Right For You

When looking for a physiotherapist in BC, you may want to consider the cost of services and what types of insurance they accept. 

There are some physiotherapy clinics that require medical referrals from your PCP, but others don't. If you have multiple chronic conditions, it may be best for you to find a specialist that specializes in one condition. 

Finally, if you are looking for a family-friendly practice, make sure to ask if they have a qualified pediatric physiotherapist.

Finding online physiotherapy in BC

Some patients may feel uncomfortable talking with a primary care doctor about their condition or treatment options. Some may still feel uneasy making a physical appointment due to the COVID situation.

If that is your case, consider seeing a physiotherapist online. There are plenty of clinics that provide Telehealth services to their patients today.

Check with your local hospital before finding a PT online

Before you start looking for a physiotherapist online, check with your local hospital. Hospitals usually have a list of qualified physiotherapists who are members of the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia. 

Suppose your hospital does not offer a referral service for physiotherapists. In that case, you can still search for one in your area by asking friends or family members if they know someone who is a physiotherapist, checking out the website of your local public health unit, or searching on Google. 

Knowing what questions to ask when you're searching for a PT online

If you're looking for a physiotherapist online, the first thing you should do is come up with a list of questions. 

  • What kinds of services does this PT provide? 
  • How long have they been in practice? 
  • Do they offer appointments? 
  • What are the business hours? 
  • Do they have insurance coverage? 

The answers to these questions will help you decide who is right for your needs. Your referral from your PCP is always welcome, so make sure to ask them what questions to ask when researching physios online.

What are the clinical practice guidelines for receiving PT?

Clinical practice guidelines are a set of rules or recommendations that health professionals follow when they interact with patients. They include medical advice that is nationally accepted and developed by professional associations, agencies, governments, and universities. 

Clinical practice guidelines provide clear direction for healthcare providers to modify their practices in order to improve outcomes for patients. There are some clinical practice guidelines related to physical therapy, which can help you better understand why your PCP wants you to see a physiotherapist. 

For example, there are clinical practice guidelines for orthopedic care for people with fractures, pain relief using heat and cold devices, and rehabilitation following surgery.

Bottom line

You don't need a doctor's referral to see a Physiotherapist in BC. However, if you have a condition that requires regular physical therapy, it can be difficult to find the right professionals. A referral from your primary care doctor (PCP) is one way to help this process. 

If you're looking for physiotherapy in Abbotsford, then look no further than Prestige Physiotherapy & Sports Medicine!

At Prestige Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine, we're dedicated to helping you get the best results. Our team of certified physiotherapists and massage therapists specializes in working with athletes—and they know that no two injuries are alike. That's why we take the time to talk with each client about their goals and needs so that we can give them a treatment plan that's tailored specifically for them.

Contact us to book an appointment with one of our Abbotsford Physiotherapists today!

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Prestige Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine is one of the most trusted physiotherapy clinics in Abbotsford. With over 150+ 5 star reviews from our patients, our team of highly qualified professionals provide top-notch service and special care to ensure you get the most out of your treatment. 

We go above and beyond to ensure that you receive the best possible service and leave our physiotherapy clinic feeling refreshed and invigorated. Whether you are suffering from lower back pain or from sports injury, we make sure a rehabilitation program is individualized and tailored to meet your specific needs. We want you to get the best physiotherapy treatment so that you can get back to doing what you love the most as soon as possible and pain-free!

Your Health and Wellness is our priority. We're passionate about helping our patients feel their best, and we know you'll be impressed with our clinic!

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Conveniently located in the heart of Abbotsford, we provide easy access to expert physiotherapy and sports medicine services for the local community.

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Prestige Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine

Mt Lehman

Unit 106

3240 Mt. Lehman Road

Abbotsford, BC

Phone: 778-369-0303


Fax: 778 369 0202

Office Hours:

Monday to Friday: 8 am to 8 pm

Saturday: 9 am to 2 pm

Sunday: Closed

Prestige Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine

South Fraser Way (*New Location*)

Unit 14

33324 South Fraser Way

Abbotsford, BC

Phone: 778-769-5011


Fax: 778 369 0202

Office Hours:

Monday to Thursday: 9 am to 7 pm

Friday: 9 am to 3 pm

Saturday & Sunday: Closed

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