Frequently Asked Questions

I would like to schedule an appointment; what are the options?

Simply phone (902)752-9926 ; ActiveLife’s knowledgeable administrative staff are available to answer any question you may have.  Or BOOK ONLINE by clicking on the "Book an Appointment" icon in the top right corner of the page. 

New patients are welcomed.

Is a Doctor's or Nurse Practitioner's referral needed to schedule an appointment?

ActiveLife welcomes but does not require a doctor's or nurse practitioner's referral for physiotherapy or massage therapy, or for an appointment with the Pedorthist for orthotics.

While ActiveLife does not require referrals, your health insurance plan may.  Please contact your health benefits administrator or call the 1-800 phone number on the back your health insurance card to learn the specifics of your plan.

What can I expect during my first appointment?

Your first appointment includes an evaluation of your injury or area of concern. This includes a discussion about your past medical history, pain, difficulties, and goals for treatment.  A tailored treatment plan will be developed, goals will be set, education regarding your condition will be provided and treatment will be initiated.

How many appointments will I need?

After your assessment, the therapist will discuss effective treatment options and the anticipated number of appointments needed to help you achieve your goal; this number varies and depends on several things including the type of injury or condition you have, and how long you have had it. Your active participation- including completion of prescribed exercises and modifying injury-causing activities- will assist in resolving your symptoms quickly.

What Is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapists are the movement specialists.  ActiveLife’s physiotherapists provide services that restore function and mobility, relieve pain, and promote overall fitness.  Your physiotherapist will review your medical history, then evaluate you, and your primary concerns; an evaluation may include assessment of posture, motion, flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and neural function. Two of ActiveLife's physios have post-graduate education in SPORTS PHYSIOTHERAPY, and may additionally assess sport specific concerns.  A personalized treatment plan will then be designed for you based on the assessment findings. Your treatment will include education and exercises specific to your needs and injury/condition, and may include manual therapy, electrical modalities, and acupuncture/ dry needling.

ActiveLife’s physiotherapist's see patients with all types of musculoskeletal conditions - including back pain, muscle strains, joint injuries and arthritis. Our physiotherapists also offer specialized services in sport physio, vestibular therapy, and concussion impairment care; see below for more information.

The physiotherapists at ActiveLife are experienced and knowledgeable, and licensed by The Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapists.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage Therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissue (skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments) to reduce discomfort, alleviate tension and spasm, improve mobility, increase circulation and drainage and promote relaxation.  ActiveLife’s therapists are college trained and are registered to practice in Nova Scotia.

ActiveLife's team have specialized skills sets including sport massage therapy, pregnancy massage and myofascial release. Conditions treated by ActiveLife’s massage therapists include: whiplash, headaches, neck and back pain, TMJ dysfunction, sprains, strains, tendonitis and muscle tension and spasm, and provide pre- and post-sports event care. Our therapists are specially trained to assess and develop individualized treatment plans. Their treatment plan, techniques, pressure and depth will depend on your condition.

ActiveLife’s registered massage therapists are members of The Massage Therapy Association of Nova Scotia.

Massage Therapy gift certificates are available.

How can custom foot orthotics help me?

The foot plays an important role in how the body moves, functions and feels. A custom orthotic helps to place the foot in its best alignment and most efficient position for motion, and lessen strain and pain. Orthotics are customized inserts that are worn in your shoes, boots and specialty sports footwear like cleats and skates. They can provide pain relief, stability and support, alleviate pressure and promote easier movement, and can accommodate foot deformities.

Carol Ann Sweeney, Pedorthist, will provide a detailed evaluation of your foot posture and motion and examine your gait to determine if you can benefit from orthotics. Most often a computerized impression of your foot is taken through Amfit, although occasionally plaster mold or foam impressions are made.  From the impressions, orthotics are then manufactured by Carol Ann in her own lab.

Common foot problems that benefit from orthotics include fallen arches, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis and arthritis.

Carol Ann is a member of the Pedorthic Association of Canada.

What Is Sports Physiotherapy?

Pain or difficulty with running? Injured on the field or court?  ActiveLife's team is here to help.  Sport physiotherapy is a specialized practice offered only by therapists with advanced post-graduate education in the field. The only therapists in northern Nova Scotia with post-graduate certification in sport physiotherapy work at ActiveLife; Shannon Estabrooks has a Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy and JR Marshall completed a Masters in Sport Physiotherapy.

Sport Physiotherapy focuses on evaluation, treatment, performance enhancement and injury prevention of athletes. Components of this practice include functional testing, bracing or protective equipment recommendations, sport taping, and return to sport planning. We have an interest in supporting and rehabilitating athletes of all ages and levels, from the weekend warrior to the professional.

Custom knee bracing for ligaments or arthritis is available at ActiveLife. Tell me more.

ActiveLife’s physiotherapists are trained in the assessment for and fitting of custom Breg and Bledsoe knee braces. Custom knee bracing can benefit people ligament injuries, including ACL tears, by limiting harmful movements and providing stability and support of injured structures.

People with moderate knee arthritis can benefit from braces that “off-load” the arthritis, to shift pressure off the sore area.  This can lessen joint stress and pain, and improve function.

Medical referrals are required for custom bracing.  Private health plans often cover all or a portion of custom brace fees.

Rehabilitation Products

Only the highest quality and effective rehabilitation products are available at ActiveLife. These include Breg’s Cryotherapy cold compression unita, TENS and NMES (muscle stimulation) units and Breg and Bauerfeind off-the-shelf braces and compression garments.

Walk-in patients are welcomed. Our experienced physiotherapists will assist you in choosing braces that are right for your needs. Cold therapy units can also be provided without an appointment, after physiotherapy education on usage, safety and contraindications.

"Biofreeze" and "Motion Medicine" pain-relieving ointments are available too.

Appointments are needed for fitting of compression garments including compression stockings used following surgery or for varicose veins.  Clients requiring custom bracing are also provided an assessment appointment.  Call (902)752-9926 to schedule an appointment.

Vestibular Therapy?  Tell me more.

If you have vertigo, dizziness, or balance problems, or had a concussion, this is a service for you.  Physiotherapists Shannon Estabrooks and JR Marshall offer this specialized service. Vestibular therapy may include particle positioning maneuvers, vestibulo-ocular exercises, balance exercises, manual therapy and a home program. Each patient will be provided education and learn strategies to help about their condition.

Vestibular therapy can help with vertigo caused by BPPV, dizziness due to neck pain, or trauma, and post-concussion syndrome.  To book an appointment, call ActiveLife's administrative staff at (902)752-9926.

Concussion Rehabilitation with ActiveLife's experienced Physiotherapists.  Tell me more.

Dizziness, headache, balance difficulties, or difficulty focusing or reading?  Concussion rehabilitation can help.  Concussion rehab is a simple way of labeling the physiotherapy that ActiveLife offers to individuals following a concussion - it includes assessing the neck, vestibular/equilibrium function, gait, coordination, ocular/eye movement, and balance.

Because of the complexity of post-concussion syndrome, ActiveLife’s physiotherapists work closely with the referring physician/nurse. Shannon Estabrooks and J.R. Marshall have special education in the assessment and treatment of people with concussions and have a close network of specialists to refer to.

If you had a concussion, a medical assessment by a doctor or nurse practitioner is recommended.  Referrals are not required for this physiotherapy service.

Please call ActiveLife’s administrative staff, (902)752-9926, with questions or to book an appointment.

KEY Functional Assessments, Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE)

KEY method of evaluating an individual's physical functioning is completed through measurements of lifting, pushing, pulling, and carrying capacities as well as identifying specific tolerances for sitting, standing and walking.  KEY also identifies tolerances for non-weighted activities such as bending, squatting, crawling and kneeling. The results are not only used to determine a worker’s safe working levels for returning to work following injury, but also for purposes of job placement, injury prevention programs, and rehabilitation decisions.

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