Physiotherapy is an Allied Health profession aimed at enhancing and supporting the restoration of function and movement in patients affected by injury, pain, illness, or disability. Physiotherapists employ physical methods such as movements, manual therapy, exercise prescription and educational advice to support recovery of their patients and improvements in the quality of their life.

What is Physiotherapy?

  • Therapy involving exercises, manual techniques, and advice designed to treat a broad spectrum of injuries and conditions.
  • Has roots in ancient Greece and has evolved into a key component of contemporary healthcare.
  • Supports conditions like sports injuries, post-operative recovery, chronic pain, and neurological conditions.
  • Misconceptions include the belief that it's solely for athletes or post-operative care.

The Role of a Physiotherapist

  • Physiotherapists assess health needs, devise treatment plans, and utilise techniques to support in their patient recovery, pain reduction, and enhanced mobility.
  • Becoming a physiotherapist requires a university degree in physiotherapy and registration with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia.
  • Ongoing professional development is essential to stay abreast of medical advancements.
  • Adherence to ethical standards and patient confidentiality is crucial.

Physiotherapy vs. Physical Therapy

  • The terms are often used interchangeably, though "physical therapy" is more common in the US.
  • Both aim to improve patient well-being through physical interventions, with slight differences in approach and scope by country.
  • Collaboration between professions enhances patient care.

Key Principles of Physiotherapy

  • Grounded in evidence-based practice, employing scientific evidence to inform treatment plans.
  • Comprehensive patient assessment and diagnosis involve physical exams and sometimes diagnostic tests.
  • Treatment plans are personalised, focusing on the patient's goals and lifestyle.

The Physiotherapy Process

  • Starts with a detailed patient history and physical examination.
  • Treatment plans might include exercises, manual therapy, and education on managing conditions.
  • Effectiveness of treatments is regularly evaluated to adjust plans as needed.

Areas of Specialisation in Physiotherapy

  • Specialisations cater to specific patient groups or conditions, such as sports injuries, paediatric health, or chronic pain management.
  • Requires additional training and certification.
  • Tailored treatment strategies are developed for specific conditions.

Techniques and Tools in Physiotherapy

  • Includes manual therapy, exercise programmes, and electrotherapy.
  • Incorporates technology like ultrasound and laser treatments.
  • Emphasises patient education on self-management.

The Benefits of Physiotherapy

  • Supports the improvement of mobility, strength, and coordination.
  • Supports mental health by reducing pain and anxiety.
  • Supports the management of chronic conditions with the intent of reducing the need for medication or surgery.

Physiotherapy in Healthcare Systems

  • Physiotherapists often work within multidisciplinary teams in hospitals, community health centres, and private practices.
  • The profession faces challenges such as resource limitations but is evolving with healthcare advancements.

Finding the Right Physiotherapist

  • Choose a physiotherapist with relevant experience and qualifications.
  • Consider the therapist's specialisation and approach to care.
  • Initial consultations should include a comprehensive assessment and a clear treatment plan.


  • Physiotherapy is an important Allied Health therapy for supporting the improvement and maintainance of health.
  • Offers a non-invasive, drug-free approach to managing various health conditions.
  • A qualified Physiotherapist can support significant life and functional improvements.


What conditions can physiotherapy treat?

  • Supports a range including musculoskeletal injuries, chronic pain, neurological disorders, paediatric conditions, and sports injuries.

How often should I visit a physiotherapist?

  • Frequency depends on your condition and treatment plan, ranging from once or twice a week to less frequent visits as you progress.

Is physiotherapy covered by Medicare in Australia?

  • Medicare may provide coverage for physiotherapy under specific conditions, such as chronic health conditions requiring a GP Management Plan.

Last Updated on 14 March 2024 by Brisbane Livewell Clinic