What is Physiotherapy?
The History of Physiotherapy
The average duties of a physiotherapist have certainly changed over the last 100 years. Once seen as only technicians, physios are now seen as first contact health professionals. The profession’s evolution has been fueled by knowledge gained from fore founding and influential physical therapists (i.e. Mary “the mother of physical therapy” McMillan, Dr Stuart McGill, etc.) and the boom of scientific research.
Interestingly, the first form of physical therapy dated back more than 2000 years ago. Hydrotherapy was first recognised by Hippocrates, who is best known as the founder of medicine. Much like modern-day hydrotherapy, particular activities and exercises are performed to relieve pain and movement.
Types of Physiotherapy Treatment
- Corrective and/or neuromuscular exercises
- Strength and conditioning
- Clinical Pilates
- Balance training
- Education and advice
- Cognitive therapy
- Self-massage techniques
- Soft and deep tissue massage
- Trigger point therapy
- Dry needling
- Joint mobilisation
Benefits of Physiotherapy
Instead of taking harmful painkillers or getting invasive surgery, taking a more conservative approach could be more suitable. Physiotherapy uses your body’s movement and natural (non-medicated) treatments to help fix your pain and achieve your goals. Additionally, specific recommendations made by your therapist can also keep you out of discomfort. For many people, surgery and painkillers can be avoided altogether.
When the term ‘natural’ pops up, alarm bells might be ringing inside your head. Fortunately, the physiotherapy profession is driven by high-quality scientific research or better known as ‘evidence-based practice’. Evidence-based practice ensures that the best post possible treatment is being delivered for the most suitable patient. Incorporating this approach during consultations ensures that a therapist is more likely to help you achieve a better outcome.
A big reason why the profession has become so established is because of the relationships based with other healthcare providers, including general practitioners (GPs), surgeons, specialists and even dentists. One key reason is that physiotherapy incorporates evidence-based practice and study the same scientific foundations (e.g. anatomy, physiology, etc.). This is why physiotherapists are one of, if not the most, referred by GPs. There’s nothing more effective than a co-existing medical team look after your health.
Where do Physiotherapists work?
This area of physiotherapy is probably the most well-known by a majority of people. Muscle tears. Rehabilitation after surgery. Lower back pain. Physios can treat any injuries, soreness or pain within the moving body. For this reason, musculoskeletal therapists work in many areas, including medical clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, gyms, sports facilities and the broader community
A specialised field of physiotherapy which deals with people diagnosed with nerve and brain conditions. Examples of these conditions include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, etc. Despite being much needed, they are found in more specialised areas, such as rehabilitation centres, hospitals, specialty clinics, home visits, and the broader community.
Cardiorespiratory therapists are also very specialised physiotherapists working with people suffering from heart and lung health issues (e.g., COPD, bronchitis, heart disease, etc.). They are also crucial for preventing lung problems which can occur immediately after surgery. Therefore you will often find these therapists working in hospitals, post-operation rehabilitation and specialist clinics.
How do you become a Physiotherapist?
Other frequently asked questions (FAQ) on Google
To cover any other burning questions about physiotherapy, I will also answer some other common questions entered on the Google Search Engine. Using my secret investigative tricks, I was able to find answers to popular inquiries.
In many countries, physiotherapists are seen as first contact health professionals that do not need referrals. However, your doctor may recommend some therapists that they trust and might have a good track record. A referral may also be required for Medicare rebates. In Australia, for example, you are entitled to up to 5 bulk billed visits ONLY if you are eligible and have a GP referral.
There is a whole range of conditions and injuries that physiotherapy is good for. Tennis elbow. Frozen shoulder. Sprains. Aches. Stroke. Surgical recovery. COPD. The sky is the limit. Although, more uncommon and specialised problems may require more specialised fields of physiotherapy. For example, someone who has just has had a stroke should seek a physiotherapist who is experienced in neurological rehabilitation. Whilst elite weightlifters might want to find someone who works explicitly with sports. But for general issues, finding a local but reliable therapist should be enough. Overall, many conditions (especially those listed under the Where to Physiotherapists Work?” section can be effectively treated by physiotherapy. For any further inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Out of all the top search results we found, knee arthritis seems to be the most inquired about the condition. When considering that an estimated 654 million people are diagnosed with this condition, it becomes less surprising. Finding the correct treatment for someone with knee osteoarthritis depends on several considerations. What are the symptoms? How severe has it progressed? How old is the individual? These are just some factors that need to be accounted for. Fortunately, the majority of people would benefit from physiotherapy. Therapists offer a range of passive treatments (e.g. massage, electrotherapy, dry needling etc.) and rehabilitation (e.g. hydrotherapy, strength training, etc.) to improve pain and movement. Many GPs and knee surgeons will recommend trying physiotherapy for most people with knee arthritis before any other treatment. An innovative and effective program named GLA:D (Good Life with osteoArthritis: Denmark) has become one of the go-to therapies in the health industry. Research has shown that participants report that their pain on average by 36% in just six weeks. Overall, physiotherapists offer a range of treatments that help manage knee arthritis. Recently, the GLA:D program has become readily available across many clinics globally and provided by specially trained therapists.
Most health insurance companies recognise physiotherapy as an effective healthcare service for the general public. As a result, many companies will cover physiotherapy as part of their coverage. However, some people may need to choose more comprehensive packages. For example, Australians will need ‘Extras’ on top of their hospital cover for services such as dental and optometry. Despite this, many companies will operate differently. Please contact your health insurance for specific details and information.
Looking for a Physiotherapist?
If you’re someone with a nagging back pain or a sports injury from Melbourne (VIC, Australia), you’re in luck. Currently, we’re operating from The Movement Hive in Doncaster East. With multiple treatment rooms and a functional gym, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve the best outcomes.
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