How to Prepare for the Canadian Physiotherapy Competency Exam

Any internationally trained physiotherapist desiring to work in Canada will need to pass the PCE (Physiotherapy Competency Exam).
Naturally, you would want to find out more about this licensing exam and what exactly you are expected to know. Are there any textbooks to read or past examination papers to look at?

Well if you are really interested in giving the PCE your best shot and passing the exams on the first try, the you can check out these preparatory courses organized by two different groups.

PT Exam Prep

PT Exam Prep is a comprises highly skilled tutors with experience in preparing for the Canadian Physiotherapy Competency Exam, and practicing Physiotherapists in the Canadian healthcare industry.

They are dedicated to helping international physiotherapists become certified in Canada. Pt Exam Prep offers a 6 week comprehensive course to get you fully prepared for all topics tested on the PCE .

Their courses cover both written and practical components of the PCE exam.
Courses for the written PCE cost $2000 while those for the practical PCE cost $185.

If you are not interested in the 6-week course, they also organize a 100 question Mock Exam to test your readiness .

OR

You can check out

Optimalrehab

They also offer preparation courses for both clinical and written component of Canadian Physiotherapy Competency Exam. Theses courses are also focused on preparing internationally trained physiotherapists for PCE.

Students may register for 6 sessions (written) and 6 sessions (practical). Classes are in small groups of 2 students or one-on-one. The instructor is a Canadian trained physiotherapist with MSc degree in Physiotherapy and Kinesiology

Written Component:
Students will master the Musculoskeletal, Neurological, Neuromuscular and Cardiopulmonary sections and the most important notes for the exam will be reviewed. Important references for the exam will be introduced in the class.

Students also receive sample multiple choices and additional important notes necessary for the exam every session.

Students may pay as you go. They don’t need to register for all sessions at once but they can pay for each session separately.
In the clinic class: $85/session
Online class : $75/session
1000 multiple exam questions: $200

The clinical component goes for $95 a session.

Tips to Prevent Musculoskeletal Conditions While Using your Smartphone

It's not uncommon these days, to see people moving around with their faces buried in their mobile phones or tablets. Even having a decent conversation with a friend can prove abortive if the notorious "third party" refuses to leave the eyes of him/her.

A 2014 study in the Journal of Surgical Study revealed that bending your head while looking at your mobile device can add between 12kg to 27kg of pressure on your spine.

"New" musculoskeletal conditions like "Text Neck" and "Texting Thumb" are becoming a common presentations in physiotherapy clinics, and therefore it has become a major responsibility for us as health practitioners to put out safety tips on how to use mobile or handheld devices.

So here are some tips on how to use your smartphone and other handheld devices safely:

When holding your phone, especially, for long periods, adopt postures that help keep your wrists and fingers in as relaxed a position as possible. Deliberately and gently stretch your wrists and fingers in the opposite direction you had been holding your phone as a relaxation move.

Keep your device at eye or chin level to minimize bending your neck and upper back. Take time out to move your neck, stretching it in the opposite direction that that it has been.

Just like when using your monitor or laptop in the office, imbibe the 20-20-20 rule - for every 20 minutes you spend looking at your device, take 20seconds off to stare at an object about 20 feet away.

Use your other fingers instead of thumbs to type.

Avoid wedging your phone between your ear and shoulder when talking on the phone.

Check these 6 Habits to Get Relief from that Neck Pain

Neck pain can present itself in many ways, but whatever form it comes it's an unpleasant feeling that you really want to get relief from. When we refer to "neck pain" here, we are talking about pain in the neck that has no clear cause or diagnosis (nonspecific neck pain).

There are different types of neck pains; neck pain that comes with a headache, neck pain that comes with tingling (pins and needles) in the arm or neck pain which is as a result of an obvious injury, like a whiplash injury.

A whiplash injury is a strain in the muscles or tendons of the neck as a result of a force that quickly throws the neck forwards then backwards.

Whiplash injuries commonly occur in auto accidents, for example, if your car is hit suddenly with great force from behind, that force can cause your head tho plunge forwards and get thrown backwards.

A neck pain that presents with a headache (cervicogenic) is likely to indicate disc degeneration or facet joint arthritis. The fact that the headache is cervicogenic shows that the cause of the headache is coming from the neck.

Neck pain with accompanying radiculopathy (pinching or irritation) of a nerve is most likely due to some form of degeneration and arthritis and can present as tingling or numbness in the arm.

Focusing on nonspecific neck pain, causes are likely to be postural.

A nagging pain in the neck can disrupt all your activities in the office and diminish your productivity, if not handled properly and promptly.

Neck Pain is mostly caused by improper working postures. Here are some tips to avoid excessive neck twisting and looking up or down extensively to deal with Neck pain in your workplace:

  • Your Monitor Position: put your monitor directly in front of you except you occasionally use it. It should be at eye level, so you don't have to bend your neck in any awkward position,when working at it. Also spending time on your gadgets, especially tablets and mobile phones, looking down for long periods.
  • Telephone Use: Avoid sandwiching the ear piece between your neck and shoulder, as much as possible, use your hand!
  • Your office Chair: does your chair give you adequate support. A good chair should support your whole spine; from neck to waist. You may need to change your chair. An ergonomic chair that has a head rest will be helpful.
  • Regular Breaks: Take Regular Breaks off looking at the monitor or perusing documents. If you notice you've kept your neck in a fixed position too long, take a break and roll it around a bit.
  • Use a Pillow: Use a pillow to support your back when sitting. Good support for your back will also help your neck, since they are both part of the spine.
  • Sleeping Position: Watch your sleeping position, at home of course and not in the office! Bad posture at home will reflect in the office. look out for your bed and pillow also, you may have to change them.

How to Care for your Back

Back care is clearly a case of "prevention is better than cure". It's always better to prevent back injury than to treat it.
So what are the culprits of back pain? What would cause great discomfort and injury to your back? This is what should be at the top of your mind so be careful to avoid or control the following:

Common Causes of Back Pain

1.Weak muscles: not enough physical activity. Yeah yeah, you can't just sit behind your desk all day and think your back should understand.

2. Muscle Strain caused by too much or physical activities carried out with harmful techniques.

3. Poor/Bad postural habits.

So what should you do to protect your back muscles?


Practice good lifting techniques. 
  • Always be conscious about what and how you should lift an object. Does it look too heavy? Would you be needing help? 
  • Lift objects close to your body rather than with your arms outstretched.
  • Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other for balance.
  • Slowly bend your knees and NOT your back, so your legs do the lifting.
  • Lift the object while straightening your legs till you are standing straight.
  • Take care to also bend your knees while putting the object down.

Watch your weight
Extra weight places extra stress on your back muscles. You don't need the "pot belly".


Adopt Good Posture at all Times
  • Whatever the position you find yourself; sitting , standing, sleeping there are the "good, bad and ugly" for your back.
  • Always sit with a back support. Yes you should use one in the office if your seat doesn't give adequate support to your lower back.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods; take stretching and walking breaks.
  • Drive with your back straight against the seat and close enough to the steering. Your bent knees should be at a slightly higher level than your hips.u to stand for long periods.
  • Don't stand for long periods; take stretching and walking breaks if your job requires you standing for long periods.
  • Better to lie on your back or side than on your tummy. Use adequate pillow support for your head/neck, back and between your legs if you are on your side. 
  • Lie on a firm mattress. 

8 Interesting Facts About Getting a Foot Massage

Spending time at work involves assuming sitting and standing postures
for long periods and this most times results in muscle tension and
other stress-related symptoms.

If your job involves you walking or standing for long periods like
customer service staff and construction workers (to mention) a few
then you would definitely need regular foot massage.

It would amaze you that a brief 15 to 20 minutes foot massage can do the trick.

Your feet are one of the most sensitive parts of the body that seldom
get the required attention they deserve.

Even every day walking and standing can take their toll on your feet
as the feet and ankles bear a good part of your body weight.

With over 7000 nerves in the foot alone, getting a foot massage can be
extremely pleasurable and relaxing.

A foot massage will not only help relieve foot and ankle pain, but
will also relieve stress and tension in the entire body.

Here are other benefits of getting a foot massage:

1) A 20 minute session of foot massage and mobilization restores
balance and alignment especially in the elderly.

2) A 20 minute session of foot massage helps reduce the pain intensity
after a surgical operation.

3) Light pressure foot massage also helps to reduce lower limb oedema (swelling) in pregnancy.

4) A 10 minute session of daily foot massage for at least 2 weeks has
been shown to reduce the agitation in people suffering from dementia.

5) A good foot massage will improve blood circulation round the body.

6) Foot massage promotes good body posture.

7) Getting a foot massage will also help to boost your immune system.

8) Foot massages have also been known to improve concentration.

You may not always have the time to go to the spa to get one but you
can treat yourself to a "home made foot massage".

Although there's nothing like a massage given with human hands you can
still make use of a foot massager at home except you have a partner
that's willing to "volunteer".

There are tips here on how to give a foot massage.

Firstly, soak your feet in warm water after adding few drops of
lavender oil or any other essential oil.

There are two major types of foot massagers; the simple and the
therapeutic foot massager.

The therapeutic foot massager actually mimics reflexology.
Reflexology is a kind of massage that relieves tension and treats
illnesses by stimulating pressure points on the feet, hands and head.

All in all get a massager that's easy to use and try to read as much
reviews as possible.
There are mechanical foot massagers, water-based foot massagers, calf
and foot massagers et al.

Once you get a durable and effective foot massager you're guaranteed a first class "on the go" stress relieving therapy.

Exercising Safely During Pregnancy

There is nothing wrong with exercising when pregnant. When it comes to exercise prescription for the pregnant woman one important factor to consider is her fitness level.

What was your fitness level before pregnancy? How physically active were you? Were you actively exercising or going to the gym? What were your physical activities? Were you swimming, jogging, playing tennis or just involved in household chores?

After being certified fit by a medical personnel, exercise and pregnancy are really good friends as long as the boundaries are observed.

Here are some guidelines to follow when exercising during pregnancy:

  • Avoid exercising in high temperatures. Stop exercising if you are getting uncomfortably warm. It is important to maintain your hydration level, so always have water with you during your exercise time
  • Avoid exercising in the supine position (lying on your back, face up)
  • Exercise sessions, which should be handled by the therapist, shouldn't be more than 45 minutes
  • Avoid breath holding activities such as scuba diving and vigorous strength training
  • If you weren't that active before you got pregnant or aren't really an "exercise person", settle for low impact activities like walking or swimming.
  • Balance training during pregnancy is unnecessary because of the risk of falls
  • Flexibility and strength training can be put on hold or done under careful supervision. The body is already getting " flexible " under the influence of relaxing hormone

Benefits of remaining active during pregnancy:

  • Being physically active while pregnant is likely to reduce the level of pain or discomfort you may feel
  • It can help maintain or even improve your level of fitness and endurance
  • It will likely reduce the risk of occurrence of varicose veins or swelling
  • Exercising or staying active during pregnancy will help reduce experiences of fatigue, stress and anxiety
  • It has also been observed that pregnant women who exercise tend to have a shorter labour period, fewer complications and quicker recovery after delivery

Exercise during pregnancy is  complete NO in the following cases:
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension (pre-eclampsia)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Restrictive lung disease
  • An incompetent cervix
  • Persistent bleeding

In summary, a pregnant woman is blessed with the assignment of carrying a baby to full term, and bringing forth the child as safely as she can, without jeopardizing her own health.

Your physiotherapist is qualified to walk you through this period, keeping you as active as you should be.

Average Physiotherapy Salary in Top Countries

Why do we make so much fuss about how much a physiotherapist should earn? Well we are not fussy, it is just imperative that you are up to date with industry standards.

Physiotherapists promote mobility, physical activity and general health and wellness of individuals. In this technology age there is emphasis on education to prevent injury and disease and promote recovery.

Why would physiotherapy continue to be relevant? Because as people become more sedentary in their lifestyle and also grow older, there is an increasing need to ensure that individual maintain optimal health by being physically active. Maintaining and improving functional independence is key when dealing with an ageing or elderly population.

So what should a physiotherapist be expected to earn these days? Physiotherapy salaries have actually been increased in several regions because of the increased demand and importance of the profession.

In the UK, physiotherapists earn an average salary of £45,000 ($53,000) per annum. Experience is key in the UK, so the greater your years of experience the higher your salary will be. On the average, the physiotherapy salary range in the UK is between £31,000 ($38,000) and £54,000 ($66,000) per annum.

In the US, the average annual physiotherapy salary ranges from $55,000 to $90,000, this includes a basic salary and allowances that follow. Salaries for physiotherapists vary across the different states, with Texas and Alaska being some of the best paying.

In Canada, having a postgraduate degree is a plus to your annual salary. Other factors that also affect how good your salary can get are the province you are employed and also the industry you work. There are varying reports on which Canadian cities pay physiotherapists best; some say Ontario, some say Calgary. Interestingly, the lowest and highest physio salaries are in Toronto/Ontario with a range CAD 38,000 to CAD 103,000 ($28,000 to $78,000) while the highest "low" salary is paid in Calgary.The average annual physiotherapy salary range in Calgary is CAD 63,000 to CAD 91,000 ($48,000 to $69,000).

The annual salary range for physiotherapists working in Australia is between AUD 46,000($35,000) and AUD 86,000($65,000).

7 Essential Competencies Required by Physiotherapists in Canada

What really is required of a physiotherapist practising in Canada? When looking out for an international physiotherapy job you need to be abreast of what is expected of you. What is the scope of practice and boundaries for the physiotherapist outside your country of training?

Yes, Physiotherapy is concerned with the quality of human function and movement... Prevention, intervention and rehabilitation are common keywords when it comes to what physical therapists do, but what exactly is required of physiotherapists in some countries? Who is a physiotherapist?

Let's look at Canada, what is expected of a physiotherapist who wants to work in Canada?

1) A physiotherapist is first of all seen as an "Expert" who:

  • Consults with the client to obtain information
  • Carries out client's assessment relevant to physiotherapy practice
  • Analyzes the findings from assessing the client
  • Establishes a physiotherapy diagnosis and prognosis
  • Develops and implements an intervention strategy
  • Evaluates and reviews the effectiveness of interventions employed


2) A physiotherapist is also seen as a "Communicator" who:


  • Develops and maintains professional relationships through effective communication
  • Conveys and shares information to aid decision making
  • Effectively uses verbal, non verbal and electronic communicationcommunication


3) A physiotherapist is also expected to be a Collaborator who

  • Recognizes and respects the role of other team members involved in a client's case.
  • Works with others to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts


4) A physiotherapist is a Manager who


  • understands the structure and funding of the health system as relates to physiotherapy practice
  • Supervises personnel involved in delivery of physiotherapy services and ensure safe and effective physiotherapy practice


5) A physiotherapist is an Advocate who promotes the health needs of individuals, the community and the profession

6) A physiotherapist is a Scholarly practitioner committed to lifelong learning, incorporating experiences, education and research to deliver physiotherapy services

7) And finally, the physiotherapist is the "Professional" who conducts himself within the ethics of the profession, respecting the client's autonomy and contributes to the development of the physiotherapy profession.

How to Prepare for the Qualifying Exam for Physiotherapy in Singapore

To get a physiotherapy job in Singapore, you need to be licensed and before that you need to pass the Qualifying Exam in Nanyang poly.

Being an internationally trained physiotherapist the last thing you may want to hear (at least for me) is that word "Exam".

You want to know what books to read for the exam or if your clinical knowledge is sufficient for you to pass. Another thing that bothers many is the structure of the exam; is it theory or MCQ, clinical based or viva?

From what I have heard(not experienced), the Singapore physiotherapy qualifying exams has been quite tough for some. They didn't pass it on the first trial and you have only two opportunities.

Some common complaints are that most of the materials recommended for reading where not used for the exam and that the students that participated in the clinical exams (as patients) where "bad actors".

For those who are yet to write the exam, their major complaints are getting an employer to sponsor them to write the qualifying exam.

The most important help you can get is information. (Read also How to get a Physiotherapy Job in Singapore).

Here also are some tips to help you with the Qualifying Exam at Nanyang poly:

Apply online to private physiotherapy clinics or gyms that employ physiotherapists in Singapore.

Getting a pass to get into Singapore is an additional advantage

You may be able to get a job which doesn't require you passing the QE (Qualifying Exam)

If you are Pilates certified you kind of have an advantage

The key is "clinical reasoning", so if you've been working for a while you shouldn't have a problem with that. However, you should pay attention to exercise prescription; dosage, frequency, progression. Decisions you take should be evidence-based. So your explanation for  treatment choices you make should be intelligently communicated as based on evidence, not just book knowledge

The written exam is based on common case scenarios you meet in musculoskeletal, cardio and neuro physiotherapy, basically

During the clinical aspect of the exam, be sure to always clearly explain your reason for making assessments and treatments. Clinical reasoning is key. If you can communicate your reasoning with sound clinical-based evidence then you're good to go.

Textbooks you can add to the given reading materials are Pryor and Prassad, Brukner and Kahn, Kisner and Colby.

All the best.

Recruitment Agencies that Cater to Health Professionals


Here are some health recruiting agencies in the UK, Canada and Middle East you can check out. We'll keep populating the list as we get more submissions so remember to check back for updates.


1) KPI Care


2) Harbour West Consulting(Canada)

Harbour West Consulting Inc. specializes in assisting post-secondary, health, public, and not-for-profit organizations and associations in filling executive and senior-level positions.
You can also check their opportunities

3)Swanstaff Recruitment (United Kingdom)

Within our local branches we specialise in temporary roles, focusing on Healthcare Recruitment, Driving and Industrial Recruitment and Office & Commercial Recruitment. Our national recruitment team based at Head Office works within a wide range of sectors, with specialist Consultants providing permanent and temporary recruitment services to clients within the Healthcare, Logistics, Pharmaceutical, Professional Services, Financial and Office and Commercial Sectors.

4) HealthStaff Recruitment (Australia)

HealthStaff Recruitment is Australia’s most successful and leading healthcare recruitment company. Providing recruitment services since 1998, the company has developed extensive expertise and experience in both national and international recruitment of Hospital Doctors, General Practitioners , Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals.

Their services include
Assistance with your professional registration, gaining a tax file number, opening a bank account, Work Permit Sponsorship (available for most vacancies), relocation services, among others.

5)CCM Recruitment

CCM is an International Healthcare recruitment company with over 25 years’ experience recruiting healthcare staff for exciting and challenging roles overseas. CCM has offices in Dublin, London, Central Europe, Sydney and Melbourne.
They also provide some form of relocation support to ensure you settle in well.

6)Global Hire Recruitment (Canada)

Global hire provides placement services in the Health Care, Trucking, Welding, General & Skilled labor markets on a contractual or a permanent basis.
They provide services like assistance with work permit, relocation and permanent residency status.

7) Worldwide Health Staff Associates

WorldWideHealthStaff Associates assist you with every aspect of the job placement, professional credentialing, relocation and work visa processes is your assurance that you will be treated with respect and as a professional.

8) Your World Healthcare (Middle east)

Your World Healthcare Middle East assigns a range of healthcare professionals from Nurses and Doctors, the full range of Allied Health Professionals (AHP) and Health Science Services (HSS) and Non-Medical Non-Clinical roles within healthcare settings.

9) Care Consulting (UAE)

Care consulting pecializes in sourcing quality professionals for the health and social care sectors in the middle east.

10) Monroe Medical
Monroe Medical fills in locum and permanent physiotherapy jobs. Whether you are a fresh graduate or experienced physiotherapist you can contact them.
Their services include travel and accommodation assistance, among others.

11) Konnecting
Konnecting offers recruitment, migration and settlement services for skilled workers who want to work in Australia on a permanent or temporary basis. They specialize in international recruitment and migration services.

Want to work in Canada as a physiotherapist? British Columbia wants you...


Physiotherapy Salary Structure in Australia

When looking for a job as an internationally trained physiotherapist, your focus should not just be on places with the best physiotherapy salary but also those with the best working conditions.

The best physiotherapy jobs may not necessarily be the "highest paid", but those jobs that have employers and the overall system compensate you with benefits that keep you hooked.

Physiotherapy career progression is another very important factor that determines if a job is suitable for you or not, as we all have our various career expectations.

Anyway, what we want to look into is the structure of the physiotherapy salary in Australia. What benefits go with a basic salary? What allowances do you expect to get paid in addition to your salary? How do you actually calculate your salary and how do you know you are getting what you deserve?

These are questions on the minds of physios moving from one country to the other seeking the best paid job.

Australia is one country that takes the care of its workers seriously.

When you are offered a job as a physiotherapist in Australia, in addition to your employment contract, you should get what is called the "the Fair work information statement ". This document informs you about the minimum working standards every employer should offer to the employee.

These are the 10 minimum entitlements that an Australian employer should offer according to the NES (National Employment Standards):

1. A maximum standard working week of 38 hours for full-time employees, plus ‘reasonable’ additional hours.

2. A right to request flexible working arrangements.

3. Parental and adoption leave of 12 months (unpaid), with a right to request an additional 12 months.

4. Four weeks paid annual leave each year (pro rata).

5. Ten days paid personal/carer’s leave each year (pro rata), two days paid compassionate leave for each permissible occasion, and two days unpaid carer’s leave for each permissible occasion.

6. Community service leave for jury service or activities dealing with certain emergencies or natural disasters. This leave is unpaid except for jury service.
7. Long service leave.

8. Public holidays and the entitlement to be paid for ordinary hours on those days.

9. Notice of termination and redundancy pay.

10. The right for new employees to receive the Fair Work Information Statement.

So now you know the minimum entitlements to expect from an Australian employer.

Now, how is the salary for a physiotherapist structured? What comprises the physiotherapy pay?

When applying for jobs in Australia you will likely see some of these terms that are tucked into your salary offer, let's look closely at some of them so you can know how to calculate your salary.

Salary Packaging
The first time I heard salary packaging, I had absolutely no idea what was being packaged.... So what is salary packaging?

Salary packaging is a great way of restructuring your salary by using pre-tax income to buy a range of everyday items, paying your rent or mortgage. This is an Australia Tax Office approved way to save on tax, lowering your taxable income and increasing your take-home pay.

"Super"
When looking at salary offers, you may see $76,300 + Super...
I wondered what on earth "Super" was...
Super is an abbreviation for "Superannuation" which is the
Money paid by an employer on behalf of an employee into a superannuation fund to provide for the employee’s retirement. Other known term: employer contribution

Other components of your employment contract or salary are likely to be

Allowances
Additional payment made to employees for doing certain tasks, working in certain locations, using a special skill or for expenses incurred for doing their job.

Annual leave
Annual leave allows an employee to be paid while having time off from work. Other known term: holiday pay.

Paid parental leave
A payment scheme offered by the Australian Government for when an employee goes on leave to have a baby or adopt. Employees can get paid directly from the Australian Government or their employer. Other known term: employer funded paid parental leave.

Parental leave
Employees can take 12 months unpaid leave when a child is born or adopted. Other known terms: maternity or paternity leave, adoption leave and dad and partner leave.

Personal leave
Paid leave taken when an employee can’t go to work because they are ill or injured. Other known term: sick leave

Special maternity leave
Leave that can be taken if the employee has a pregnancy related illness or the pregnancy ends after 12 weeks because of a miscarriage, termination or stillbirth.

Another information contained in the fair work statement is

The Right to request flexible working arrangements

Requests for flexible working arrangements form part of the NES. You may request a change in your working arrangements, including changes in hours, patterns or location of work from your employer if you require flexibility because you: 

• are the parent, or have responsibility for the care, of a child who is of school age or younger

• are a carer (within the meaning of the Carer Recognition Act 2010) 

• have a disability

• are 55 or older 

• are experiencing violence from a member of your family or

• provide care or support to a member of your immediate family or household, who requires care or support because they are experiencing violence from their family

You will also get information on agreement making, termination of employment and other concerns. Get more information on this here


Employers vary in their offers, so you need to know what is important to you, especially as a health worker. Some employers offer subsidized gym/health center membership, discounts on banking and home loans, Corporate health insurance and the list goes on!


Physiotherapy Management of Spinal Cord Injuries and Autonomic Dysreflexia


Autonomic dysreflexia is a medical emergency as it is a life threatening situation. It is very critical that physiotherapists are informed about this condition especially when handling spinal cord injury patients.

Autonomic dysreflexia is an abnormal and excessive excitation of the sympathetic nervous system (involuntary) in response to stimuli.

Even though autonomic dysreflexia is commonly associated with SCI patients with lesions at T6 and above,  it can also present in non-traumatic causes like in patients with spinal cord tumour or those who have undergone neurosurgery at level T6 and above. It can also be seen in multiple sclerosis
cases.

Physical therapists should watch out for signs of Autonomic Dysreflexia when handling neurological cases especially SCI patients with lesions in T6 and above.

Common causes of autonomic dysreflexia are

  • a blocked catheter, 
  • constipation, 
  • pressure ulcers, 
  • tight clothing 
  • some physiotherapy manoeuvres like "stretching" and electrical stimulation.


Some common signs of Autonomic Dysreflexia are

  • a slow heart rate (bradycardia), 
  • increased blood pressure by 20-40mmHg, 
  • severe headache, 
  • Nasal congestion
  • shortness of breath, 
  • flushing of the skin and sweating above the injury


What should a Physiotherapist do if you suspect a patient you are treating is beginning to experience Autonomic Dysreflexia?


  • Your first action is to stop whatever you are doing that could have triggered it, 
  • sit the patient up or raise his head and lower his legs and check his BP. 
  • If it's high call for medical assistance immediately, as Autonomic dysreflexia is life threatening.