If you ever experience an illness or injury that impacts your ability to move or carry out daily tasks, your doctor will likely refer you to a physiotherapist.
In fact, most people will work with a physiotherapist at some point in their life. Physiotherapists address all matter of movement-related challenges such as healing after a car accident or surgery as well as addressing lower back pain or neck issues.
Physiotherapists work with all patients with all types of conditions and limitations using a holistic whole-body approach to address physical, emotional, psychological, and social needs. They work in all stages of healthcare including prevention, education, intervention, rehabilitation, and treatment.
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn more about what physiotherapy is and what physiotherapists do:
What is it?
Physiotherapy is a health care profession that assists individuals to restore, maintain and maximize their strength, movement, function, and overall well-being.
It is focused on the promotion of health, prevention of injuries, treatment, intervention, habilitation, and rehabilitation while taking into account variations in health status.
It’s is a science-based treatment with movement being its core expertise and business.
This form of treatment is used with individuals around the world to help them become stronger and more flexible and increase their freedom of movement and mobility. It can also help people breathe easier, reduce pain, stay active and prevent injury in order to resume day-to-day activities.
What Do Physiotherapists Do?
Physiotherapists are the practitioners of this therapy and have in-depth knowledge of how the body works. They specialize in hands-on physical skills in order to assess, diagnose, and treat symptoms of illness, injury, and disability.
Physiotherapists either work in an individual practice or with a team of other health professionals such as occupational therapists and kinesiologists to help meet the patient’s health care needs.
You’ll find a physiotherapist working in hospitals or acute care facilities as well as rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, home care programs, public health units, schools, child development centers, recreation centers, sports clinics and facilities, and universities.
The role of a physiotherapist changes day-to-day. They may have to perform assessments to diagnose problems and implement treatment plans. They may also be re-training patients to walk or helping others to cope with physical aids such as crutches and wheelchairs.
Apart from the hands-on aspect of physiotherapy, physiotherapists also educate patients, their families, and the community in ways to prevent injuries and to help people lead healthy lifestyles.
Some of the hands-on methods include massaging muscles, using muscle stimulation devices, manipulating joints, and stretching muscles.
A physiotherapist can treat all manner of people including children with development challenges, pregnant women, premature babies, individuals requiring physical rehabilitation, athletes, the elderly, and those needing support following heart disease, strokes, or major surgery.
What are the Educational Requirements for Physiotherapists?
In Canada, all physiotherapists must be registered to provide safe and effective services. They must meet national entry-level education and practice standards as well as have successfully passed a standardized competency exam prior to registration.
The educational requirements to become a physiotherapist include a master’s degree in physiotherapy, which has replaced the undergraduate degree program as the minimum entry-level requirement.
Some of the courses required in the master’s degree program include pathology, anatomy, biomechanics, and physiology. Physiotherapists are also required to undertake at least 1,000 clinical hours through hands-on learning that includes lab work, clinical placements, and group work.
Is There a Difference Between a Physiotherapist and a Physical Therapist?
Simply put, the terms “physiotherapist” and “physical therapist” mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.
However, there is one small difference between the two but this is primarily regionally based. For example, in Canada, Australia, and Europe, practitioners are known as physiotherapists. In the United States, they are referred to as physical therapists.
To go a bit deeper, some practitioners suggest that physiotherapy is more focused on manual therapy while physical therapy is a more exercise-based approach.
All in all, both terms require a medical background and the focus on the prevention of injury, improvement of flexibility, and the management of pain – no matter the title used.
If you are interested in improving your quality of life as well as your mobility, don’t hesitate to speak with an expert physiotherapist regarding your treatment options.
What are the Main Benefits?
Seeking the support of a physiotherapist can benefit people of all ages who suffer from illnesses, medical conditions, or injuries that limit their ability to move and function properly.
Physical therapy encourages activities and lifestyle changes that improve overall well-being and helps to prevent further injury. Physiotherapy is typically the first course of action when a patient is experiencing a physical problem.
It’s is more than just fixing sore backs and pulled muscles. It offers so many other benefits as well:
- Avoiding surgery – It can help heal injuries and avoid requiring surgery. However, if surgery is required, physiotherapy can help strengthen the affected area and promote a faster recovery.
- Reducing and eliminating pain – It includes a variety of techniques and exercises that can help alleviate pain and restore movement and function to promote healing.
- Recovery from a sports-related injury – Professional therapists understand the risks involved in different types of sports and can design appropriate recovery plans or prevention exercise programs.
Improved mobility – No matter a person’s age, anyone can have trouble standing, moving, or walking. Physiotherapists can design a unique care plan customized to the individual to help improve their range of movement.
Manage age-related issues – As people get older, they are more at risk of developing joint-related issues that could result in a joint replacement. It can help individuals recover from these procedures as well as manage age-related conditions.
Women’s Health – Women have specific health concerns such as pregnancy, post-partum care, breast cancer, pelvic pain, and fibromyalgia. It can offer specialized management of issues related to women’s health.
The overall goal is to improve your quality of life! Who wouldn’t benefit from that?