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Why Physiotherapy?

17/06/2016 by Pivotal Motion

If you are reading this, you have probably been to a physiotherapist. However, there is a lot that you may not have known about physiotherapists in general!

First things first- we are first contact practitioners; which means that you do not need a referral from your doctor to come and see us. We are trained to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders or injuries and even refer for radiological imaging when necessary. It takes us 4 years to graduate with a Bachelor in Physiotherapy degree in Australia, which means our skills are not just limited to treating aches and pains in the body. Here are some of the things you may have not known about the profession.

  • We work in hospitals, community clinics, private clinics, aged care facilities, and with sporting teams.
  • We treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including generalised pain, sporting injuries, age related conditions, neurological conditions.
  • We do paediatric physiotherapy which means we treat children from 0-18 years of age.
  • We treat respiratory conditions.
  • We treat neurological conditions- from strokes, brain injuries and Parkinson’s to rare genetic disorders. The treatment is primarily focused on regaining strength, range of motion and control of movement as well as improving balance and regaining function.
  • We work in water. Hydrotherapy is a commonly used treatment modality.
  • We work in occupational health and safety. This means that we can do ergonomic assessments to ensure that you work in a safe, injury-proof environment.
  • We work in men’s and women’s health (continence issues for example) and through pregnancy.
  • We work in oncology.
  • We work in the intensive care unit and in the emergency department!

Now that we have that out of the way, I feel that it is necessary that you understand how we work.

  • Like I’ve mentioned before, we are first contact practioners.
  • We assess first: everything from posture to strength, length, joint stiffness and integrity of your ligaments to how you get in and out of bed!
  • We can refer you for xrays, MRIs and ultrasounds if you need it, which means you don’t need to see a GP first for those forms of imaging!
  • We advise: whether it is something as simple as a postural correction, a change in technique or the need for a specialist consult, we tell you what the next move is.
  • We treat using a variety of treatment modalities. Our favourites at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy are manual therapy and exercise. Treatment commonly used by physiotherapists also includes correction of ergonomic factors, designing exercise programs, electrotherapy and hydrotherapy.

Physiotherapists are different in that they use a variety of modalities to treat patients. If a certain treatment does not work for you, it the clinician’s job to modify the plan accordingly. The thing about being in university for 4 years learning anatomy over and over again is that you become pretty good at diagnosing conditions. Research has shown that experienced physiotherapists are better at managing musculoskeletal conditions than medical students, physician interns, resident and all other physician specialists apart from orthopaedists! When MRIs were finally discovered, research was conducted on the diagnostic accuracy of physiotherapists. They found that the physiotherapist’s accuracy was as good as orthopaedic providers and better than non-orthopaedic doctors. The latest news in the Physio world is that physiotherapists are being trained to perform orthopaedic reviews following surgery in parts of the UK and this trend is slowly starting to take form in Australia.  All the more reason why you might want to consult your physiotherapist the next time you have a musculoskeletal injury. Bear in mind that we use a holistic approach when we treat you, which means that if you have multiple conditions, we will work to find the optimal solution for you. Our job is to improve your quality of life and help you achieve your goals. So there’s something to keep that in mind in considering which health professional might be able to help you with your condition.


Childs, J., et al., A description of physical therapists’ knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions.(2005) BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 6(1): p. 32.
Moore JH, Baxter RE, DeBerardino TM, Mansfield LT, Fellows DW, Taylor DC., Clinical diagnostic accuracy and magnetic resonance imaging of patients referred by physical therapists, orthopaedic surgeons, and nonorthopaedic providers. (2005) J Orthop Sports Phys Ther.35: p. 67-71.


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