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Why Physiotherapy?

17/06/2016 by Pivotal Motion

Why physiotherapy?  A physiotherapist is trained to improve function, provide support and education, exercise prescription allowing a return or maintenance of your body.

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!

Physiotherapists are first contact practitioners.

First things first- we are first contact practitioners; which means that you do not need a referral from your doctor to see a Physiotherapist. Physiotherapist are trained to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders or injuries and even refer for radiological imaging when necessary.

It takes 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.

Not all physios are hospital based!

Here are some of the things you may have not known about the profession.

  • Physiotherapist can work in a variety of different fields. Including hospitals, community clinics, private clinics, aged care facilities, and with sporting teams.
  • Physio can treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including generalised pain, sporting injuries, age related conditions, neurological conditions and respiratory conditions.
  • Physios are able to manage and assist with 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.
  • Physiotherapy work with a range of different age groups. But are also educated in paediatric physiotherapy which means we treat children from 0-18 years of age
  • Physio are educated in both men’s and women’s health (continence issues for example) and through pregnancy.
  • A common rehabilitation modality in Physiotherapy is Hydrotherapy. Which is a rehabilitation program completed in water.
  • Physiotherapy work within occupational health and safety guidelines. This means that we can do ergonomic assessments to ensure that you work in a safe, injury-proof environment.

What do Physiotherapist do in their profession?

  • Like I’ve mentioned before, Physios are first contact practitioners.
  • Physio assess first: everything from posture to strength, length, joint stiffness and integrity of your ligaments to how you get in and out of bed!
  • 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!
  • Physiotherapist 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.
  • They use 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.

How are physiotherapist different?

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!

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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.

Physios have a holistic approach

Bear in mind that physios 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 in mind when 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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