Physiotherapy FAQ: Answers to some of your most common questions
We get asked a lot of questions about our work, and we know there are a few misconceptions and misunderstandings about physiotherapy out there. So, we wanted to answer some of the most common questions and set a few things straight!
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is treatment to restore or maintain mobility, function or wellbeing. Physiotherapists can help you recover from or manage an illness, injury or disability, and help you to prevent injury. We also help you to maintain general fitness and use physical approaches to support your overall wellbeing.
What conditions does a physiotherapist treat?
The most common reasons to see a physiotherapist are injuries, disability, pain, or other issues affecting your physical mobility. However, a wide variety of problems can have causes within the body that a physiotherapist can help with.
Some conditions that physios treat, that you may not be aware of include:
- Headaches caused by muscle tension or neck problems
- Dizziness caused by issues with the body’s balance system
- Bladder or bowel incontinence caused by weak pelvic floor muscles
- Coughing or breathlessness caused by certain respiratory disorders
- Pregnancy and postpartum recovery to safely increase activity levels and strengthen weakened muscles
- Weight management to identify potential barriers that are preventing weight loss
- Symptoms of certain chronic diseases, such as hypertension, emphysema, diabetes, Parkinson’s, ALS and arthritis, can be mitigated or managed through physiotherapy
Do you need qualifications to be a physiotherapist?
Yes! You need a degree and thorough training. Ongoing learning and regular upskilling is also required to maintain registration with our professional body. Robert has an Undergrate Degree in Physiotherapy, a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy and holds a Certificate in Integrative Medicane. While Jeff’s qualifications include a Graduate Entry Masters Physiotherapy.
What does physiotherapy involve?
Physiotherapists use a wide range of techniques and tools to help you with your issue. These include and are not limited to the following:
- Hands-on techniques
These are the physiotherapy techniques you’re probably most aware of and involve directly helping to restore movement to the affected area. Examples of hands-on techniques we frequently use are:
- Joint mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Soft tissue techniques
Physiotherapists will often work with you on exercises to strengthen your muscles, increase your range of movement and improve function. These exercises may be performed during your session, and you will most likely need to continue them at home between appointments.
Physiotherapists may tape or strap areas to relieve pain, enhance stability or prevent further injury or damage.
- Additional therapies
Many physiotherapists are trained in additional therapies that can relieve pain, improve movement and promote healing, such as:
- Ultrasound – using high-frequency sound waves to stimulate blood circulation and cell activity
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) – an electric current delivered to a specific area to relieve pain
- Education and advice
Physiotherapists look at the body as a whole, not just the particular issue at hand. That’s because your body works as a whole, not in separate parts, and different areas can impact one another. Therefore, we’ll look at your overall wellbeing and see what issues might be connected.
We’ll also look at lifestyle factors that might be contributing to your problems, and advise you on how you can make changes to prevent further issues. We can also provide advice on avoiding injuries in the future as well as general wellbeing information.
Will I need to get undressed for my appointment?
We will most likely need to look at the area causing the trouble, so you may need to reveal that part of your body. Where that is will depend on how much clothing you need to remove. We recommend wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to allow us to treat with ease, and to allow you to be able to do any exercises or movements that are necessary for a successful treatment session.
Should I see a physiotherapist or a doctor?
If you are in pain or struggling with a particular condition, you might not be sure who to see. Physiotherapy will often work alongside medical treatment, and we will refer you to a doctor if we think they are better placed to help you or that you would benefit from seeing a doctor as well.
Some conditions can be brought on through repetitive tasks, such as your work, particularly office work, setting up your work environment correctly is really important, speak to your workplace about their policies to support you care for your health, and if you have a home office setup, check you’ve got it setup correctly by reading this article.
If in doubt, just give us a call and ask!