What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession concerned with function and movement. The goal of physiotherapy is to maximize an individual’s potential. Physiotherapy is an autonomous profession, that is, practitioners make their own clinical judgements and treatment choices.
- uses physical methods to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being
- is a science based profession which views movement as central to well-being
- exercises clinical judgement and informed interpretation which is at its core
Physiotherapists identify and make the most of movement ability through treatment, rehabilitation, health promotion and preventative advice. Physiotherapists are primary healthcare providers.
Core skills used by physiotherapists include manual therapy (hands on treatment), therapeutic exercise and the application of electrophysical treatment. Physiotherapists work with a broad variety of physical problems especially those associated with the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Areas of Work
These are examples of the areas physiotherapists work in:
Physiotherapist Areas of Work
- Private Sector – working independently in private practice, clinics, hospitals and private organizations treating a wide range of conditions such as sports injuries, treating patients after accidents, spinal and joint problems
- Women’s Health – pre/post natal care, classes, exercise and posture, managing continence, pain and treatment of other pelvic floor conditions
- Men’s Health – managing continence, ano-rectal disorders
- Community – consulting, treating a wide range of patients at home, giving advice to caregivers
- Outpatients – treating spinal and joint problems, accidents and sports injuries
- Orthopaedics and Trauma – restoring mobility and strength after hip and knee replacement surgeries and spinal operations and treating patients after accidents
- Intensive Care Units, Burns Units – working with babies, children and adults – keeping limbs mobile and lungs clear
- Cardiovascular – improving exercise tolerance
- Neurology – restoring normal movement and function in stroke, multiple sclerosis, head injuries and other conditions
- Paediatrics – treating sick and injured children for a variety of conditions such as those with severe mental and physical handicaps such as cerebral palsy and spina bifida
- Care of the Elderly ( Gerontology ) – improving and maintaining mobility and independence after falls, treatment of arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and chest conditions
- Hydrotherapy – working with children and adults in pools to facilitate easier mobility
- Terminally ill ( Palliative Care ) – working in the community or hospices treating patients with illnesses such as cancer or AIDS
- Mental illness ( Psychiatry ) – teaching classes in relaxation, body awareness, improving confidence and self-esteem through exercise
- People with Learning Disabilities And Handicaps – using sports and recreation to assist in maximizing function, assessing and providing specialist footwear, seating and equipment
- Occupational Health – treating employees in organizations, assessing work habits to prevent injuries, neck and back problems, developing return to work plans and providing advice and support during this process
- Education And Health Promotion, Teaching Physiotherapy Students and Rehabilitation Assistants – teaching about different conditions. This may include back care, ergonomics, exercise classes, cardiac rehabilitation groups, pre and post-natal fitness
- Voluntary Organizations – advising and consulting for organizations that support and care for people with arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
- Research – in multiple areas of physiotherapy