Optimising Your Health with the Help of a Physiotherapist

Written by Brendon Arizala

Apr 2, 2023

IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • Who would benefit from seeing a physiotherapist?
  • What are the benefits of seeing a physiotherapist?
  • What qualifications do physiotherapists have?
  • What treatments do physiotherapists use?

This article is for you if you’ve been told to see a physiotherapist by your GP, Specialist, NDIS Support Coordinator, friends or family members.

This will give you a brief overview of what a physiotherapist actually does and if you should see one. It will also give you an idea of what treatments with a physiotherapist looks like.

Who benefits from seeing a physiotherapist?

  • People who have difficulties moving their body
  • People who experience pain (from muscle, joint or bone related causes)
  • People with neurological conditions or disabilities
  • People who want to live a healthier and more active lifestyle

What are the benefits of seeing a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists work with you and empower you to:

  • Recover from injuries faster and more comfortably
  • Prevent painful conditions from worsening
  • Confidently engage in meaningful life activities
  • Move with easy by improving your muscle flexibility and joint mobility
  • Live more independently by improving your general strength and endurance
  • Perform physically well in your hobbies, work, sport or home responsibilities

What qualifications do physiotherapists have?

  • To practice as a physiotherapist in Australia, practitioners must complete either of the following:
    • Bachelor of Physiotherapy (4 years)
    • Health Related Bachelor’s Degree (3-4 years) + Master of Physiotherapy (2 years)
  • Once a year physiotherapists are required to register with a National Board known as Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to ensure they are qualified and safe to practise.
  • Physiotherapists are also required to complete at least 20 hours per year of professional development courses and continuing education.

What treatments do physiotherapist use?

In the past, people thought of physiotherapists as people who tried to fix physical problems through hands-on treatments like massages and electronic based therapies. In the modern times, the profession has evolved and is now recognised for the type of support and guidance they can provide you with optimising your physical health. They utilise a variety of treatment techniques which can be seen as tools and strategies that you can use to improve your health.

Physiotherapists are most commonly known for:

  • Educating people about specific injuries and conditions (what you need to know, what you need to do or avoid, how to improve your current physical capacity)
  • Prescribing exercise programs for a person’s specific needs. They take into account each person’s unique situations (eg. each person as a unique health condition or injury type, level of motivation to exercise, time & financial capacity, physical activity history, movement capacities, or other existing health problems)
  • Delivering soft tissue techniques (massage therapy, dry needling, cupping therapy, joint mobilisations)

Sometimes forgotten but essential things physiotherapists are trusted with:

      • assessing and ensuring you’re safety with physical activities you’re doing
      • providing accountability, guidance and support to live a healthy lifestyle which helps with your condition
      • recommending equipment and assistive technologies specific to you (eg. walking aids, braces, in-home devices).
      • connecting and referring you to other health care professionals who will be able to help you out further (eg. specialists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, etc.)
      • create manual handling plans which guide and teach carers on how to help people complete day to day activities in the safest, most efficient, comfortable and easiest possible way.

Extra Resource:

Video from Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) about “What is physio?”

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