Physiotherapists do much more than just treat backs and sport injuries. They are highly trained and work with many physical problems caused by illness, disease, injury and ageing. The goal is to reduce pain, improve function and improve a person’s quality of life.
Physiotherapists are clinical health professionals and use their knowledge of human anatomy, physiology and human mechanics to improve mobility and function. Treatments are tailored to the individual using specific assessments and evidence-based treatment programmes.
What do Physiotherapists do?
Rather than using drugs or surgery, Physiotherapists use a range of techniques such as specific exercise prescription, massage, joint mobilisation and dry needling to treat the causes of an injury or disease. Physiotherapy can reduce pain and improve movement whilst accelerating the healing process. Working closely with GPs, physiotherapists diagnose, assess, prevent and treat a variety of pain and movement problems.
Physiotherapists are highly qualified and must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA). They can treat a wide range of health issues, some of which include:
- Knee pain
- Back pain
- Post-surgery rehabilitation
- Sprain and strain injuries
- Neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease)
- Children’s development issues
- Occupational health
- Injury prevention
- Jaw pain (TMJ)
- Neck and spine pain
Types of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists work in a range of areas including children’s health, women’s health and sports medicine. Additional areas of practice include:
Neurological: Used to treat nervous system disorders such as strokes, brain injuries, spinal injuries, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Musculoskeletal: Also known as orthopaedic physiotherapy; this type of treatment is useful for back pain, sprains, strains, arthritis, shoulder pain, knee pain, rehabilitation, sports injuries, posture issues, reduced mobility and work injuries, jaw pain, vertigo and dizziness.
Cardiothoracic: This is used to treat conditions such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and other cardio-respiratory disorders.
Every patient receives a treatment which is individualised to suit their requirements. Some of the therapies used include:
Exercise programmes: This may be used to strengthen specific muscles, improve posture, gait and other movement disorders. Physiotherapists also provide advice and specific guidance on cardiovascular training, resistance training, stretching and other strategies to improve muscle length.
Manual therapies: This uses specific ‘hands on’ techniques such as dry needling and massage to assist with muscle length and flexibility. It also includes joint manipulation (often associated with a ‘click’ if the patient is comfortable with this treatment form) and mobilisation. Manual therapy aims to improve mobility and reduce pain.
While GPs are often seen as playing the primary role in chronic disease management, other health professionals also have a significant contribution to the treatment of chronic disease. Physiotherapists are highly qualified primary care practitioners and have the expertise to assess and care for people at various stages of chronic disease. Appropriate assessment, manual therapy, preventative treatment and exercise strategies can help to manage chronic disease. This will usually include tailored physical activity.
Physiotherapists can design therapeutic exercise programmes to individuals or groups for those suffering from, or at risk of chronic disease. Some of the chronic diseases which may benefit from physio include: cardiorespiratory conditions, type 2 diabetes and vascular or musculoskeletal conditions.
Seeing a Physio in Perth
You don’t need a referral from your GP to see a physiotherapist in Perth. Your physio will take take into account your medical history including any major health problems you have, or have had in the past and perform a thorough physical examination to determine the cause of your discomfort. Some physiotherapists will perform treatment on the first visit such as at Integrity Physio in Como, whilst others may not.
Costs can vary amongst Physiotherapists as does the time offered for consultations. Integrity Physio Como puts patients before profits and allows 30 minutes for all consultations at competitive rates. If you have physiotherapy cover on your private health insurance some of the cost of your consultation will be covered under insurance depending upon your policy. If you have been referred by your GP for an EPC plan some of the cost of your consultation may be covered by Medicare. Ask your local physio when you make a booking if they accept Medicare referrals.