Physiotherapy vs. Physical Therapy

Mar 22, 2021

Physiotherapy vs. Physical TherapyIf you’ve been in a car accident recently or undergone surgery then your doctor may have suggested physiotherapy to help you through the recovery process. You might wonder what the difference is between physiotherapy and physical therapy. The short answer is: they’re the same! Both physiotherapy and physical therapy refer to the medical specialty that helps you heal and recover from all types of injuries, diseases, and surgical interventions. The focus is on relieving your pain and improving, enhancing, or restoring your mobility. Your specific situation will determine what type of physiotherapy your treatment plan will involve.

Education, Training, and Experience

Physical therapists earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from an accredited institution and also pass a state licensure exam. Students of physical therapy typically spend three years in physical therapy school after completing a bachelor’s degree in a related area. Physical therapists are healthcare providers who specialize in movement and mobility. Physiotherapy is available for people of all ages and walks of life, generally providing a non-surgical, non-invasive approach to your healing and recovery process.

Common Reasons for Physiotherapy

There are a number of health concerns, car accident injuries, and illnesses that physiotherapy can address. In many cases, physiotherapy can help treat neck, back, and other musculoskeletal injuries that do not require surgery. Physiotherapy offers a conservative, minimally invasive approach to addressing your health concerns when surgery is not warranted or desired.

Your doctor may also recommend you work with a physical therapist before a scheduled surgery to help reduce complications and shorten your recovery time. Physiotherapy before surgery may include strengthening exercises, restoring range of motion, and increasing your stamina. Pre-operative physiotherapy can help improve your cardiovascular health.

Working with a physical therapist is also common after a surgery to help support you in the recovery process. Some injuries that require surgery can negatively impact your mobility, flexibility, and strength. Physiotherapy is a vital part of your recovery process and can help manage your pain while improving your range of motion.

Treatment Approaches

Your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan that addresses your specific reason for physiotherapy. Some people assume physiotherapy involves more manual therapy while physical therapy involves more stretches and exercises. However, these terms are interchangeable and a physical therapist will utilize a combination of treatment approaches to help you heal and recover. Here are a few examples of common treatment approaches you may experience with physical therapy:

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy involves treatment techniques and approaches done by hand, such as gentle manipulation of the joints to help improve their range of motion and reduce pain. This hands-on approach may involve stretches, mobilization, and therapeutic massage. Therapeutic massage is a type of manual therapy that can help mobilize your soft tissues like muscles and ligaments, improving blood flow to the area and reducing swelling. Manual therapy can also help break down any scar tissue that may be impairing your mobility.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise therapy involves active involvement in your treatment, like working through exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your stamina. Your physical therapist may incorporate range of motion exercises into your treatment plan if your injury or illness has negatively impacted your mobility. There are also physiotherapy exercises that can help improve your balance and coordination. Strength and flexibility training are also examples of exercises you may experience with physiotherapy.

Additional Therapy Options

Depending on your reason for needing physiotherapy, your physical therapist may also incorporate other therapy options into your treatment plan. Ultrasound therapy is a non-invasive treatment option used with soft tissue injuries that sends soundwaves to the affected area. This type of treatment encourages the body’s natural healing responses and promotes oxygen-rich blood flow to the area. Acupuncture and dry-needling are also types of therapy that can help reduce pain and improve mobility. Your physical therapist may also recommend neuromuscular stimulation to help strengthen weakened or damaged muscles.

At AICA Orthopedics in Snellville, our team of multi-specialty physicians works together to provide you with individualized treatment options for your specific needs. We offer physiotherapy with a highly skilled team of physical therapists who work with all kinds of injuries and illnesses, from car accident victims to rheumatoid arthritis to rehabilitation. Call or visit us online to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists and get on your way to full healing and recovery.