Physiotherapy: more than just a massage

When I tell people what I do for a living, I often get the response “physiotherapy, you must do a lot of massage”.

It’s fair to say that I do perform massage in my profession, however this is often a small and sometimes non-existent adjunct to my overall treatment.

In fact, physiotherapists have a wide range of skills and treatment options that aim to not just make you better, but rather work towards achieving your goals and living your life how you wish. 

Physiotherapists aim to treat the underlying cause of a problem and prevent recurrence rather than giving you a ‘quick fix’ such that a massage alone might do.

Not just massage

All physiotherapists are trained in rehabilitation from injury or surgery. This may include guiding you through an exercise program on land or in water to assist you in returning to your goals in sport, work and recreation.

For chronic pain and loss of function, a physiotherapist can analyse your posture both statically and in movement and make an assessment of your muscle strength and flexibility as well as joint movement.

This will guide an exercise program used in conjunction with specific manual therapy techniques to restore balance to your musculoskeletal system.

There are other things you might not know about that a physiotherapist can help you with. This includes casting of fractures, custom hand splinting, joint taping, voice dysfunction related to muscle and joint issues, jaw pain, headaches and even dizziness disorders!

Health professionals

As you can see, physiotherapists have a great breadth of skills and knowledge but also demonstrate depth and integrity in these areas.

Physiotherapists can perform thorough assessments to provide a diagnosis and prognosis for your complaint. This may include working with your GP to identify when specific investigations and scans are necessary for treatment.

We also work closely with GPs to create treatment plans which may include referral to other professionals such as orthopaedic specialists.

Lastly, physiotherapists follow an up to date evidenced based approach to treatment meaning that the treatment you receive is based on clinical research and integrated with the therapist’s expertise whilst considering your goals and values.

All of these things might explain why physiotherapists are GP’s most recommended health professional.

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