Physiotherapists who have completed a post-graduate course on diagnostic imaging through the University of Alberta and are registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Alberta are authorized to refer patients for diagnostic imaging.
Xray, ultrasound and MRI referrals by a physiotherapist are no longer covered by Alberta Health Care and will require payment to the radiology clinic.
Diagnostic imaging tests can assist in gaining further information to confirm a diagnosis, determine a different course of treatment, or referral to another health care practitioner.
Your physiotherapist is under no obligation to refer you for any of these tests if he or she does not consider the test to be medically necessary and/or will change the course of your treatment. Your physiotherapist may need to communicate with your family physician prior to ordering any diagnostic imaging tests.
X-rays are used to assess bones and joints for possible fractures, dislocations, or joint conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Diagnostic ultrasound is used to assess tendons and muscles for possible tears or inflammation, such as rotator cuff tears or Achilles strains/tears.
MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging, is the most detailed form of diagnostic imaging. It is used to assess joints, nerves, and other soft tissue structures in great detail for such conditions as ligament or meniscal injuries in the knee or disc protrusions in the spine.