These Frequently Asked Questions contain general information only and do not take into account your personal health, fitness or wellbeing circumstances, needs or objectives. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement by Avaana and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare, fitness or wellbeing professional. All site users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their health, fitness and wellbeing questions.
What Do Physiotherapists Do?
Physiotherapists analyse and treat a number of ailments that affect the normal movements of the body. The role of a physiotherapist differs according to their experience, position, specialization, and the individual needs of the patients.
There are common functions that fall under the job description of every physiotherapist. These include assessing the condition of the patient, diagnosing and recommend appropriate treatment, and treating the patient using a range of techniques according to the condition.
The role of a physiotherapist may also include training patients on how to use movement aid devices such as walking frames, calipers, splints, crutches, and wheelchairs. They may also teach patients exercises that they can perform on their own, and educate them on the prevention of bodily ailments and injuries.
Physiotherapists are also able to develop, implement and promote fitness and wellness programs for individuals and for the community.
What is the Difference Between a Physiotherapist and a Chiropractor?
There are a lot of similarities between the two professions. They both treat joint and musculoskeletal issues with the goal of reducing pain, improving movement, and enhancing strength. The key difference between the two is that chiropractors use physical manipulation, whereas physios will be inclined to use mobilization techniques.
Chiropractors adjust joints and muscle with their hands in order to restore normal bodily movement. In contrast, physiotherapists use manipulation and massage techniques, electrical treatment, and exercise to relieve the pain and restore movement.
How Do I Know If I Should Go to a Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor?
For relief from stiff, locked, or sore joints, you should see a chiropractor. However, if you have soft tissue pain or muscular issues, you should consult a physio.
If you are unsure whether to see a physio or a chiropractor, give a physio a call and tell them your symptoms.
What are Some Common Physiotherapy Techniques?
Some of the most common physiotherapy techniques include joint manipulation, soft tissue mobilization, acupuncture, and hydrotherapy. Physiotherapists are required to know the appropriate and safe usage of treatment devices like ultrasound, electrotherapy, ice and heat packs.
What Other Services Do Clinics Offer?
Many physiotherapy clinics will offer the following types of related services:
This involves gentle hands-on manipulation of soft tissue in order to reduce tension in the muscles, enhance circulation and speed up healing. Massage therapy is often used in conjunction with physical therapy to provide synergistic benefits.
Acupuncture is an age-old treatment technique that allows the body to heal itself through the skillful and strategic insertion of tiny needles into the pressure points of the body. Your physiotherapist may, depending on your condition, include acupuncture treatment as a part of your overall treatment plan.
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
IMS is a technique that may be used by physiotherapists for the treatment of chronic pain that is due to damaged nerves. The cause of the pain is often neuropathy, which causes shortening of the muscles, tendons, connective tissue, and joints.
Customized orthotics is all about keeping your feet healthy. A lot of physical problems originate with poor patterns of walking, poor biomechanics, and imbalances between the feet. Customized orthotics will help you to address these issues.
Dry needling is a treatment procedure involving the multiple insertions of a filament needle into the problem muscle. The needles are very thin and the patient generally does not feel it penetrate the skin. The movement of the dry needle up the working muscle can, however, be quite uncomfortable.
What Types of Health Problems Require Physical Therapy?
Physical therapists can often help with pregnancy back pains. They train pregnant women with several exercises that strengthen their joints and reduce the back pain.
Physiotherapy is the best way to reduce the pain associated with osteoporosis. In such cases, a physical therapist develops a comprehensive treatment program including bone strengthening exercises, diet plan, aerobics and massages.
While fractures are treated by orthopedists, physical therapists ensure that the affected bone is healed and strengthened. They suggest individual patient exercises that will improve mobility, flexibility and strengthen the afflicted area.
How Long Does a Physiotherapy Session Last?
Initial consultations can usually last an hour and a half. The physio will need that time to conduct a complete assessment of your condition, assess your needs, and decide upon the best form of treatment. You should also receive your first treatment at this first session.
What Can I Expect at my Session?
The session will begin with the physio asking you to describe your symptoms. This will allow the physio to get an understanding of where your pain is coming from, and what your treatment needs are likely to be.
The physio will then undertake a physical assessment of your condition. This will include an analysis of your muscular, joint, and nerve strength, as well as your mobility.
The physio will then devise a treatment plan based on the assessment. He or she may give you your first treatment at that time. The physio will also give you advice on how you can manage the issue and what steps you can take to avoid a repeat of the issue.
How Many Follow Up Appointment Will I Need?
This will be dependent upon your specific condition. Your physio will be able to tell you the number of follow sessions required and how spread out they should be. You will probably also be given exercises to perform at home.
Do I Need a Doctor’s Referral to see a Physiotherapist?
No, you don’t need a doctor’s referral to make an appointment with a physiotherapist. But you will need to have a doctor’s referral if you are planning to claim your work-related injury, or vehicle accident, from your medical insurer.
What Should I Bring to My Physiotherapy Appointment?
Be sure to wear loose, comfortable fitting clothing to your session. If you have any medical documents from doctor’s consultations, such as scans, medical notes, or letters, you should also bring them with you.
If you have a sports related injury, you should also bring your playing boots and trainers with you. The physio may identify that your problem is connected to them.
Will My Physiotherapy Session be Covered by Medicare?
Yes. Physiotherapy appointments will be eligible for refunds by Medicare under certain circumstances. Your session must be referred by a doctor and you must be suffering from a prolonged or complicated medical condition.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a specific form of physio treatment that takes place in a heated pool. It combines hands-in aquatic physio treatments with exercise designed by your physio to provide a complete treatment plan.
Hydrotherapy provides gentle, sustained treatment in a warm, relaxing environment. It involves a series of gentle therapeutic exercises that are performed in a heated pool. The resistance of the water allows the physio to gently and safely work the muscle against resistance.
Hydrotherapy sessions will often take place at public swimming pools. The physiotherapist will be in the water with you to provide instruction and guidance.
Will the Physiotherapist Treat me in Privacy?
Yes. Your consultation will be in a private area and your consultation will be completely confidential. The physiotherapist will not treat more than one client at a time so you will have his full, undivided attention.
Will the Physio Provide Me with Self-Management Strategies?
Yes. Your physiotherapist will educate you so that you are able to manage your condition for the long term. He or she will also provide you with the skills and knowledge to prevent a recurrence of the problem. You will be shown optimal postures and exercise programs that you can use for long term maintenance.
Do Physiotherapy Clinics Permit Walk-Ins?
Some will, depending on how busy they are. However, you are far better off to book an appointment in advance. If you cannot make your appointment, you should cancel within 24 hours in order to avoid being charged.
What Qualifications Should I Expect the Physio to Hold?
All physiotherapists must have a relevant tertiary qualification. They must also be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.