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Physiotherapy vs. Physical Therapy

May 4, 2021

Physiotherapy vs. Physical TherapySome musculoskeletal injuries can affect your strength and mobility, and a physical therapist can help you through your healing and recovery period. If you have recently been in a car accident or suffered a sports injury, your doctor may recommend you schedule a physiotherapy appointment, whether your injury requires surgery or not. Physiotherapy is a type of medicine practiced by physical therapists. It is also known as physical therapy, in fact, and the terms are generally used interchangeably. Physical therapists work with patients who have suffered a wide range of injuries that affect their quality of life. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or physiotherapy, but what they are referring to is the same thing: a type of non-invasive approach to supporting your healing and recovery process after an injury.

Physical Therapist Education and Training

In order to become a physical therapist, students must first complete an undergraduate degree in a science or related field. They must then apply to an accredited physical therapy school where they will study the complexities of the human body, including healing and recovering from injury and illness. A physical therapy program will also include internships and hands-on experience in health, wellness, and rehabilitation. Upon completion of a physical therapy program after an average of three years, they will earn a doctorate of physical therapy. The final step to becoming a licensed physical therapist is to pass a state licensure exam to practice physiotherapy in a hospital or private practice setting.

Why See a Physical Therapist

Going to see a physical therapist is most commonly associated with rehabilitation after surgery. In this type of situation, surgery and the subsequent recovery period may cause you to lose strength and affect your range of motion. Physiotherapy after surgery can help you regain your strength, improve your range of motion, and help you rehabilitate in a safe and healthy way. Physical therapy may also be recommended before an upcoming surgery to help support and improve your stamina, depending on the procedure and your current health status.

Physiotherapy is also a treatment option to pursue in cases where surgery is an option but only preferred as the last resort. This type of treatment is non-invasive and natural, which means the techniques and treatment approaches do not require surgery or even medications. You may wish to meet with a physical therapist for an injury or illness to see if you can regain strength, mobility, and stamina without the need for surgical intervention. Physical therapy may also be recommended for small fractures and breaks that temporarily limit your mobility so you can slowly reintroduce movements in a safe way.

Treatment Approaches for Physiotherapy

Physical therapy utilizes a combination of techniques in order to provide you with individualized treatment and comprehensive care. Certain treatment approaches may be more appropriate for one type of injury over another, but here are a few examples of what physiotherapy treatment may involve.

Manual Therapies

Physical therapists practice a hands-on approach to your care and recovery process, which can include therapeutic massage, joint manipulation, and other low-impact approaches. An injury or issue affecting a joint can cause you to lose mobility, so a physical therapist may use gentle manipulation of the joint so you can experience pain relief. A physical therapist may also perform therapeutic massage to aggravated or injured tissues, which can help improve blood flow to the area and promote healing. The physiotherapy process will likely also involve your physical therapist working with you to slowly reintroduce movements and stretches of the injured area.

Exercise Therapy

The most common treatment people associate with physical therapists tend to be exercises. A big aspect of physiotherapy can involve stretches and exercises that help you regain your strength, improve your mobility, and develop greater stamina and support to help prevent future injuries. Your physical therapist will walk you through these stretches and exercises step-by-step so you can be an active participant in your recovery and rehabilitation process. When you exercise it also increases your heart rate, so oxygen-rich blood and nutrients can flow to the injured area. Everyone wants to get moving again after an injury or surgery, and physiotherapy provides you with safe, healthy guidelines for doing so.

Take care of your physical health! If you are looking for physiotherapy in College Park, visit AICA Orthopedics and learn more about our team of physical therapists and how they can help you!

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