Frequently Asked Questions: 

Will the treatment cure my pain?

If you were recently injured and the pain is acute, then full recovery is highly probable after the tissue healing time has been completed. When chronic pain – pain that does not subside after six months – occurs, it is less likely the pain will totally go away. However, treatment is focused on finding where the pain is coming from and the contributing causes; this in turn will help reduce and manage the pain, as those underlying causes are addressed. 

What approach will be used to treat my pain problem?

See the attached for more information about Healing Rivers’ approach. 

Healing Rivers Pain Program

My doctor recommended a bio-psycho-social approach to manage my pain – does that mean he thinks my pain is in my head?

Bio-psycho-social approach means that the treatment and management does not only target one of the many complex factors contributing to pain. Rather, it enables us to consider all contributing factors to provide the best care possible. Everything from relationships to sleep, work and leisure time are affected by chronic pain. This can add further pressure on someone, as they also have to deal with depression and anxiety. The bio-psycho-social approach may help a patient set and reach goals, and regain some control in their lives.

What is Combined Decongestive Therapy?

Combined decongestive therapy refers to a treatment that combines manual lymph drainage (removing excess fluid and protein through a gentle massage); compression therapy (bandaging of the affected limb following each session or the wearing of compression garments); exercises and breathing; and skin care and hygiene. This combination has been found to be the most effective when treating lymphedema. 

What can I expect if I choose to start lymphedema treatment/Combined Decongestive Therapy?

There are two phases with regard to this type of treatment:

  1. Volume reduction phase
  2. Maintenance phase

If you are experiencing swelling, phase 1 is where the treatment starts; if there is no or light swelling, then treatment will begin at phase 2. The first phase is quite intensive and may include several appointments per week for about two to four weeks. Sonja will take measurements weekly to determine when a maintenance compression garment can be fitted. Once the garment is ready, the second, or maintenance phase starts. In the maintenance phase the lymphedema is stable and controlled, and you are able to manage it by yourself. You may also choose to undergo clusters of manual lymph drainage treatments in the maintenance phase, to further improve lymph drainage and skin condition.

What does Cancer Rehabilitation look like?

Following cancer treatment, it is common to feel tired and lack a normal level of energy. Depending on the treatment procedure, you may also be unable to resume normal activities because of decreased range of motion and muscle strength. Sonja will help you and your body get back into shape again, allowing you to resume a normal life and activities you have enjoyed before.

How long will each treatment last?

The treatment usually lasts between half an hour and one hour, depending on the reason for the visit and/or condition. Patients attending the Progressive Goal Attainment Program and Chronic pain program will usually have one-hour sessions.

How many visits will I need?

This again, depends on the condition. This will be discussed following the first assessment.

Do I need a doctor’s referral?


How does the billing and payment process work?

Full payment is expected following each treatment. Although cash or cheque is preferred, we also accept debit and credit cards.

If you have extended medical insurance you can claim a portion or all of the cost from your insurance provider, depending on your coverage.

If you are eligible for MSP premium assistance, you will get $23 per visit re-imbursed for a total of 10 visits (including chiropractor, physiotherapist and massage therapist visits) per year.

Do you have gift certificates?

Yes, we have gift certificates. They can be purchased for certain amounts or duration of the appointment.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

Please come 15-20 minutes early for the first appointment as you will be asked to fill out some questions. Depending on the reason for your visit you may be given some specific questionnaires.

The appointment time is usually one hour during which the therapist takes your medical history and conducts a physical examination. Your goals and treatment options will be discussed. Together, you and your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan.

The initial treatment may also include customized exercise and manual therapy.

What should I bring to my physiotherapy sessions?

Please bring your Care Card, the doctor’s referral and if you have one or other diagnostic test results, and wear comfortable clothing. You may want to bring your own shorts, tank top, etc., depending on the area to be treated, although we can provide gowns and shorts.

Is there a fee for missed appointments?

Please give us 24-hour notice if you cannot attend your appointment. If 24-hour notice is not provided, we charge a $20 fee for missed appointments.