Based on the Greek words “physeis” and “therapeia” meaning natural order or form and healing or treatment. Physiotherapy is a profession in health care that concerns maintaining, improving or recovering from physical abilities and performance.  Another word for physiotherapy is physical therapy.   It addresses all ages and its main objective is movement disorder or complaint.    Movement dysfunction can show in a variety of body systems:  neuromuscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, and musculoskeletal.

A physiotherapist has completed at the very least a bachelor degree program with clinical practice and then an internship.  By 2010 a Masters entry level programme was offered in Canada.  A physiotherapist is qualified to diagnose a client’s movement potential through review of history and examination and to build a treatment program as well as provide a detailed exercise outline and hands-on techniques to improve movement and overall health.

Physiotherapy offers a broad range of treatments including but not limited to:  manipulating or mobilizing joints, pain reduction, incontinence management, care of wounds, application of assistance or adaptive equipment, occupational re-training, functional training, headache prevention, sports injuries,  mobility independence, pregnancy, posture correction.

There are several specialized areas of physiotherapy:

  • Pediatric:  focus in on treatment for children and adolescents
  • Geriatric:  concerning issues for adults as they age
  • Orthopaedic: geared specifically for musculoskeletal issues
  • Neurological: concerns individuals dealing with neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis
  • Cardiovascular:  treatment for individuals with cardiopulmonary conditions or those who have had coronary surgery

A typical physiotherapy session can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.   The total number of sessions can vary among clients depending on their physical condition or movement complaints.   The physiotherapist will do a detailed physical history of the client and do specific physical tests such range of motion to diagnose the physical dysfunction.

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