About Physiotherapy and Physiotherapists

Physiotherapy is an allied healthcare profession that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions & diseases primarily involving the musculoskeletal system as well as some other body systems. Physiotherapists help patients overcome movement disorders by means of physical therapy interventions. These movement based disorders may be present from birth, acquired through an accident or injury, or are the result of life changing events. Physiotherapists are trained in universities across Australia and entry may be through a Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate program. Physiotherapists work in a variety of sectors within the healthcare system including public hospitals, private practice, rehabilitation centres, sporting clubs and community health centres. Physiotherapy is not limited to the general population. There are many specialty areas of physiotherapy which include:

  • Clinical electrophysiology physiotherapy: Therapy for a variety of cardiopulmonary disorders or pre and post cardiac or pulmonary surgery.
  • Geriatric physiotherapy: Physical therapy related to the elderly population and the normal conditions related to ageing.
  • Integumentary physiotherapy: This involves the treatment of the skin and related organs.
  • Neurological physiotherapy: Therapy for patients who have a neurological disorder or disease such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, brain injury, cerebral palsy etc.
  • Orthopaedic physiotherapy: Most common type of physiotherapist. They focus on the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions.
  • Paediatric physiotherapy: These therapists are specialized in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of infants, children, and adolescents with a variety of congenital, developmental, neuromuscular, skeletal, or acquired disorders/diseases.
  • Sports physiotherapy: Involves the treatment, rehabilitation and management of athletes from an amateur to semi-professional and professional setting.
  • Women’s health physiotherapy: This area of physical therapy mostly addresses women’s issues related to the female reproductive system, child birth, and post-partum.
  • Palliative care physiotherapy: Helping palliative patients optimise their quality of life and prolong life expectancy.

Physiotherapists use a variety of treatment modalities in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. These treatment methods include:

  • Exercise programs to help improve mobility and strength
  • Joint manipulation and mobilisation to reduce pain and stiffness
  • Muscle re-education to improve control
  • Airway clearance techniques & breathing exercises
  • Soft tissue techniques/massage
  • Acupuncture & dry needling
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Electrophysical therapy (ultrasound/TENS)
  • Assistance with the use of aids, splints, walking sticks and wheelchairs
  • Taping techniques