Physiotherapists are health professionals who deal with patients who have had injuries and illnesses that affected certain bodily functions and mobility. Additionally, Physiotherapists provide lifestyle advice to promote one’s physical health.
Examples of health conditions that physiotherapists treat include problems in cardiovascular health, blood circulation, bones, muscles, nervous system, and respiratory system. They can also help you prevent future health conditions by providing education on various lifestyle practices.
So what is a Physiotherapist exactly? In this section, we will discuss an overview of physiotherapy and the role of physiotherapists in the medical field.
Physiotherapy refers to treatment activities for people who are suffering from certain injuries and illnesses affecting their mobility. Undergoing physiotherapy may help one’s recovery faster. It can even reduce one’s risks of mobility problems in the future.
On the other hand, Physiotherapists refer to health care professionals who administer treatments to heal injuries and mobility problems. Throughout one’s recovery process, s/he may also receive lifestyle education wherein patients will be taught what habits to practice and avoid.
Important Roles of A Physiotherapist
Primarily, Physiotherapists help patients who are suffering from physical health problems in certain areas of the body. These may include problems in the:
- Musculoskeletal system - This refers to our bones and muscles. Physiotherapists can treat musculoskeletal conditions like pain in the neck, joints, and tissues. Symptoms of chronic illnesses like Arthritis or Osteoporosis may also be alleviated with the help of a Physiotherapist.
- Cardiovascular system - People who had a stroke or a heart attack usually result in limited mobility. Physiotherapists can help these patients manage immobility through rehabilitation movements and exercises.
- Nervous system - Stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are just a few examples of neurological illnesses that affect balance, posture, and mobility. Therapeutic exercises can help smoothen and relax muscles which can help alleviate pain in the joints and muscles and even regain one’s mobility.
- Respiratory system - Physiotherapists can also treat symptoms of respiratory diseases like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This is done by administering breathing exercises and using devices to clear the lungs of mucus.
According to Salary.com, the average monthly salary for a Physiotherapist can range from 80,000 to 102,000 dollars. However, the exact salary amount may vary depending on your educational background, experience, and the place where you are applying.
If you are planning to pursue Physiotherapist as a profession, it’s important to earn a Doctor Of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. To get a DPT degree, you may enroll in a Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education-Accredited Physical Therapy Education Program. The DPT degree usually takes three years to complete, and after that, you must pass the state exam for Physiotherapists to get a license.
In this program, you may learn different branches of medical science:
- Behavioral sciences
Physiotherapist vs. Physical Therapist
Many people get confused about whether Physiotherapist is different or similar to Physical therapists. Though both share some commonalities, the question is whether there is an actual distinction between the two. Generally, Physiotherapy and Physical therapy are two synonymous terms and each term is used interchangeably depending on the country.
In countries like Canada, Australia, and some parts of Europe, the term that’s used is Physiotherapy. On the other hand, most countries in America, especially the United States prefer the term Physical Therapy.
However, some suggest that Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy are distinct from one another. According to Dr. JJ Thomas, a Licensed Physical Therapists, he stated that:
- Physiotherapy is more concerned with a hands-on approach wherein it may include therapies like soft tissue release, rehabilitation, and joining mobilizations.
- On the other hand, Physical Therapy is more exercise based. This means that Physical therapists usually instruct and guide patients in movements and exercises to recover from injuries or strengthen muscles and bone health.
Pelvic Physiotherapist pertains to health care professionals specializing in pelvic floor physical therapy. It is they who treat problems in the pelvic floor muscles in both males and females.
This type of Physiotherapy primarily treats health conditions like:
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Pain during urinating and bowel movement
- Pain during sex
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Pudendal Neuralgia
- Pain in the hip and lower back
Pelvic physiotherapists administer treatments like:
- Electrical stimulation
- Stretching exercises
- Relaxation strategies
- Stress management
Sports Physiotherapist pertains to physiotherapists who are specializing in Sports Physiotherapy. This type of therapy helps treat patients who have injuries in the bones, muscles, or joints due to sports activities and other physical activities.
Sports Physiotherapists may treat physical injuries by:
- Assessing the injuries
- Identifying the culprit of injuries
- Develop a treatment plan based on the type and severity of injuries.
- Providing awareness and education to prevent future injuries.
Treatments may include:
- Shockwave therapy
- Occlusion therapy
- Ultrasound-guided injections
Other Types of Physiotherapy
Aside from the two mentioned, there are other types of Physiotherapy and these include:
- Rehabilitation and pain management - This is for patients who are suffering from injuries and pain in various parts of the body.
- Musculoskeletal physiotherapy - This type of Physiotherapy is concerned with bones, ligaments, tissues, and muscles. Pain and swelling in various parts of the musculoskeletal system can be treated by physiotherapy.
- Vestibular rehabilitation - This type of Physiotherapy involves hands-on and exercise-based therapy that will help regain or improve balance and posture. Balance issues due to certain ear conditions are also covered by Vestibular Rehabilitation.
- Pediatric physiotherapy - This is a type of therapy administered to infants, toddlers, children, and young adolescents who have skeletal and developmental disorders.
- Neurological physiotherapy - Neurological disorders like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and Cerebral Palsy are just a few examples of health conditions that affect mobility and thus may need the help of a Neurological Physical Therapist.
Physiotherapy is a great help for people suffering from certain illnesses that affect balance, posture, and mobility. There are different types of Physiotherapy and each type cater to the patient’s specific needs based on his/her condition.