Would you be able to define the term physiotherapy? No? Well, you’re not alone! In fact, roughly 80 percent of the general public does not know what this term means. So, what is physiotherapy and how does it differ from physical therapy? Continue reading to learn more about physiotherapy vs. physical therapy.
Physiotherapy Vs. Physical Therapy: Is There A Difference?
When it comes to physiotherapy vs. physical therapy, you would think that these two careers exist separately from one another. Why else would two separate terms exist? Unfortunately, the distinction between the two can get pretty complex. The confusion continues when some people use these titles as synonyms. Even some healthcare specialists agree that a physiotherapist and physical therapist are two very similar occupations. While these two professions are extremely similar, there are still a few small differences.
It’s hard to get a straight answer when it comes to what sets physical therapy and physiotherapy apart. Depending on who you ask, you’re likely to get several different answers.
So, why can’t people seem to agree on the meaning of the two? The answer is that both professions have very similar job descriptions. To make things worse, the meaning of terms can change depending on the country you’re in. For example, the term physiotherapist is used more often in countries such as Ireland and Australia. In these countries, a physical therapist is recognized as a position similar to a physiotherapist that requires less schooling. This means that physical therapists rank lower than physiotherapists in these regions. This leads to a lot of confusion when people of different nationalities hear these terms.
Physiotherapy Vs. Physical Therapy: Breaking Down the Misconceptions
Many people claim that physiotherapy is different from physical therapy because it applies a more hands-on and manual approach. These people also believe that physical therapists use more exercise-based methods than physiotherapists do.
To break this down, let’s cover a few of the major similarities between the two. Both physiotherapists and physical therapists treat patients with injuries, diseases, and disorders. The treatment methods include exercise, massages, movement, and manipulation of a patient’s trouble area.
Now, onto some differences.
There are three main types of physiotherapy: musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiothoracic.
Musculoskeletal physiotherapy can be used to treat problems such as sprains, back pain, muscle strains, arthritis, and posture. Physical therapists also use this form of treatment.
Neurological physiotherapy helps heal issues within the nervous system. These disorders can include stroke, spinal cord injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.
Cardiothoracic physiotherapy helps patients work through asthma, bronchitis, and other cardio-respiratory related health problems.
Types of Therapies Used
There are also numerous different therapy approaches that physiotherapist use. The three most common types of treatment therapies include manual therapies, exercise programs, and electrotherapy techniques.
Manual therapy may include treating the problem area through joint manipulation, mobilization, resistance training, and stretching. Physiotherapists also utilize exercise therapies such as muscle training, strength training, and cardiovascular training.
Both manual therapies and exercise programs are solutions that physical therapists also utilize. However, unlike most physical therapists, physiotherapists will more commonly use electrotherapy treatment techniques such as TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).
If you are contemplating becoming a physiotherapist vs. a physical therapist, take a moment to ask yourself which types of therapy you would prefer using.
One small and final difference between a physiotherapist and a physical therapist is the workplace environment. In most cases, physiotherapists work in hospitals. Physical therapists, however, are more likely to work in private practices. These settings often lead to stronger relationships with your clients.
If you trying to make the decision between becoming a physiotherapist or physical therapist, think about the type of work environment you would do best in. This will help you determine the best option for moving forward.
There you have it! While the differences are small, knowing them may help you make your final decision about your career path! If you have a different stance in this debate, share your thoughts with us in the comments below! We would love to hear your take on the issue.