Physiotherapy Around the World

by Rachel Varga, Registered Physiotherapist

Sometimes, I will work with patients who are making amazing progress in their physiotherapy treatment plan, but then halfway through, they will tell me they are leaving on vacation soon. This can create a strong feeling of worry in the patient, as they will start to question their ability to recover, and whether or not their progress will be halted, or even completely reversed, during their time away.

I just recently finished spending three weeks away traveling Europe and practicing how to navigate incorporating my own exercise and rehabilitation into my busy itinerary. Now that I am back to a regular work routine, I have had some time to both reflect on my own experience, as well as those shared by my patients. As such, I wanted to provide some tips to hopefully make vacation, while in the middle of a physiotherapy treatment plan, feel a bit more manageable.

1. Share the information with your physiotherapist as soon as possible. With this information, your physiotherapist can help build a plan that fits your itinerary, as well as prescribe exercises that are achievable while you are away.

2. Create an itinerary before you go. This allows you to know when you will most likely be able to schedule physiotherapy exercises into your travel.

3. Easy packing. You can always fit an exercise band in your luggage! If not, then you can tie it to your suitcase handle. This could serve the dual purpose of also being a great luggage identifier.
· Side note: I highly recommend having an identifier. As some who also had their luggage lost on their trip for a few days between countries, having something bright and colorful to easily locate your bag is a good thing to have. So, why not an exercise band!

4. Injury prevention. Do research on where you are going and discuss these places with your physiotherapist. What is the terrain like? Will you be logging more than 10,000k steps per day on the cobblestone streets of Europe or on the rocky trails in the West Coast? What activities will you be doing? Hiking? Swimming? Skiing? Dancing? If your physiotherapist has an idea of the environment you will be in, they can help structure a plan for it that is relevant to your injury. Further, they can provide advice and recommendations on footwear, equipment, taping and bracing if needed.

5. Know the mode and duration of travel. If you know you will be sitting in economy for a 12-hour flight, let your physiotherapist help educate you on posture, ergonomics and movement break strategies. Especially, if you know prolonged sitting is an aggravating factor to your injury!

For my last tip:

6. Do not put too much pressure on yourself! Do not feel like a failure if the plan is not followed perfectly. As much as we can do to prepare, there is always a lot of spontaneity while traveling. Sometimes, you get to a place and discover something completely new that you want to fit into your itinerary, or you end up spending more time in one place than you thought you originally would.

Ultimately, you are traveling for a purpose. Whether that is for work, quality time with friends and family, or to have fun and explore new parts of the world on your own, that is not something that is lost on your physiotherapist. This will always be taken into consideration, and we want to be there to help you achieve your goals, no matter what the circumstance might be. Never forget that your physiotherapist will be waiting for your return and will always be excited to continue working with you right where you left off!

Book an appointment with our Registered Physiotherapist, Rachel Varga, at Synergy Sports Medicine East on the Danforth by clicking HERE!

Rachel VargaRachel Varga

Physiotherapist – B.A. Hons (Kin), MSc.PT
Rachel Varga is a physiotherapist practicing at Synergy Sports Medicine, East End (2017 Danforth Avenue)


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