Physiotherapy, otherwise known as physical therapy, is a type of treatment that helps to improve quality of movement. Physiotherapists or physical therapists typically work with patients to help them prevent or recover from movement-based injuries, including strains, sprains, and broken bones, among others. They may also work with individuals who experience chronic conditions, such as back or neck pain, that affect their ability to move. The goal is to enable the patient to move optimally. Physiotherapy is based on the science of movement; however, physiotherapists may also assess quality of life and lifestyle factors that contribute to injuries or movement disorders. This holistic approach may also involve care from other healthcare professionals, such as a primary care physician or an occupational therapist, in order to help the individual achieve wellness.


Treatment begins with an initial assessment. The physiotherapist will conduct an examination and ask you about the symptoms you are experiencing as well as your daily activity. He or she may also ask you about your medical history. From there, the physiotherapist will work to develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs. The goal is usually to improve or rectify symptoms and to increase flexibility, joint movement, strength, coordination, endurance, and balance. Physical therapists rely on a number of different treatment techniques, including manual therapies, education, ultrasounds, electrical stimulation, and heat or ice. They may also prescribe activities or exercises, including walking, stretching, weight lifting, and core exercises, to be completed by the patient, often on a day-to-day basis.

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Physical therapy has a number of applications. It can be extremely helpful to anyone recovering from an injury or trying to prevent a future injury. Athletes often work with physical therapists for precisely these reasons, as they are required to perform on a regular basis. Additionally, physiotherapy can help active individuals to reduce pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and improve overall range of motion, strength, and flexibility. If you like doing a particular activity or sport but find that the activity makes you prone to injury – for instance, if you like jogging but find it hurts your knees – a physical therapist can help you to lessen the risk of injury. It is also used to improve quality of life for individuals trying to cope with a chronic condition or disorder, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or spinal stenosis.

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Choosing a Physical Therapist

First and foremost, keep in mind that you may require a referral from your doctor in order to get an appointment for physiotherapy. When looking for a physical therapist, you should ideally choose someone who has experience treating the issue or symptoms you are suffering from. For instance, many board-certified physiotherapists specialize in different areas of physiotherapy, including neurology, sports, or orthopedics. Some physical therapists specialize even further, working with individuals who suffer from injuries related to a particular sport, such as long-distance running, swimming, or figure skating. Some may specialize in treating certain populations, for instance children or seniors. If possible, do your research before choosing a physical therapist.