What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a therapeutic health profession that assists people with injuries, pain, stiffness, weakness, and other movement problems. Physiotherapists are university trained and are experts in injury diagnosis, injury treatment, exercise prescription, injury prevention, rehabilitation and many other areas of sport and musculoskeletal health and fitness. Physiotherapists also have the expertise to assess the underlying causes of musculoskeletal injuries and provide effective, evidence based treatment so you can resume your normal lifestyle as soon as possible with the least likelihood of recurrence.
Treatment techniques may include: massage, mobilization, manipulation, exercise prescription, stretches, hydrotherapy, clinical Pilates, taping, bracing, dry needling, ice or heat therapy, advice and education. The techniques used for each individual are carefully selected by the treating physiotherapist based on research demonstrating maximum benefit for their particular condition.
Aside from dealing with musculoskeletal and sports conditions, physiotherapy is also vital to ensure an optimal outcome in patients suffering from conditions in the following medical areas: neurological, cardiothoracic, paediatric, women's health, and obstetrics.
Some of the needs physiotherapists address include:
- Cardiorespiratory – prevents, rehabilitates and supports people living with, or at risk of diseases and injuries affecting the heart and lungs, such as heart disease or asthma. Physiotherapists help patients prepare for or recover from surgery, and prescribe exercises and other interventions to improve quality of life.
- Cancer, palliative care and lymphoedema – addresses a range of patient needs, including treating, managing or preventing fatigue, pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and deconditioning.
- Continence and women’s health – manages and prevents incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction in men, women and children. Physiotherapists work in areas including pregnancy, birth, post-partum care, breastfeeding, menopause, bedwetting, prolapse, loss of bladder or bowel control, and with men living with or recovering from prostate cancer.
- Supporting older Australians – uses evidence-based care to promote healthy and active ageing among older Australians. Physiotherapists help manage or prevent the effects of conditions or risks such as osteoporosis, incontinence and falls.
- Musculoskeletal – prevents and treats clients with musculoskeletal conditions such as neck and back pain. Techniques include addressing underlying problems, preventing strain and injury, and prescribing exercises and other interventions to promote mobility.
- Neurology – promotes movement and quality of life in patients who have had severe brain or spinal cord damage from trauma, or who suffer from neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
- Orthopaedic – helps patients prevent or manage acute or chronic orthopaedic conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and amputations. Physiotherapists also help patients prepare for or rehabilitate from orthopaedic surgery.
- Occupational health – supports the health and wellbeing of workers, reduces safety risks in the workplace, prevents and manages injuries and diseases, and support workers in returning to work.
- Paediatric (supporting infants and children) – aims to support a child’s development including addressing milestone delays with sitting and walking.
- Pain – manages or prevents pain and its impact on function in patients using an informed and interdisciplinary approach. Physiotherapists work with other health and social-care professionals to manage pain at the acute stage of an injury or condition.
- Sports – prevents, diagnoses and treats musculoskeletal and sporting injuries among all types of people, from professional athletes to everyday Australians.
- Acupuncture and dry needling – which helps to manage both chronic and acute conditions such as sprains and strains, spinal dysfunction, arthritis and neurological conditions.
Do I need a referral to see a Physiotherapist ?
In Australia you do not need a doctor’s referral to see a physiotherapist, unless you wish to be claiming the injury through insurance as a workplace injury, DVA or motor vehicle accident.
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