Physiotherapy Vs. Physical Therapy

Physiotherapy Vs. Physical Therapy

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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

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.

Workplace Environment

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.

Author: Allied Travel Careers

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  1. This article is nonsense. Physio and PT are the same profession. In the US, the person is called a physical therapist. Outside of the US, (s)he is called a physiotherapist

  2. As a patient, I’ve had different experiences with regard to treatments around nerve compression and fascia bundling.

    My physical therapist mostly worked on stabilization, strengthening, and endurance using the rice method — which probably would have been fine if I didn’t have a much more nuanced medical issue.

    I found physiotherapy more appropriate for helping me manage chronic nerve pain

  3. They are different. I’m a physiotherapist at a chiropractor office and we do completely different work in injuries than physical therapists. I will see patients within days off an injury. Physical therapists wait to to 6-8 weeks before beginning any work.

  4. I’m just commenting to address that the guy who said the difference is nonsense went out of his way to add his credentials to his name lol Bravo to the clinician for being less optimistic

  5. Dear Associate

    Greetings of the day!!
    We are delighted to welcome you to the “2nd Global Congress on Physiotherapy, Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine (Physiotherapy 2019)” during November 18-19, 2019 Paris, France.
    We have gone through your biography & basing on your expertise we would like to honor you by giving an opportunity as a speaker at this conference

    For details regarding Scientific Tracks, Submission of Abstract and Registration

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    We kindly request you to intimate your opinion and are looking forward to hear from you.

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    Program Manger
    E: [email protected]
    T: +1-408-648-2233

  6. I’ve been reading about the growing use of Virtual therapy as opposed to traditional physical therapy. At this time I’ve not met any professional group offering it and I’m curious as to whether anyone here has. I can see both pros and cons for it but there would be less, if any, personal support and human contact during much of the therapy. Opinions anyone?

  7. can someone who just have experience in the job without been trained do the job

  8. Great question! Getting hired will depend on what your employer is looking for and the type of experience you have. We suggest that you start researching any agencies or companies you’d like to work with and reach out to them about whether or not you’re qualified for their positions.

  9. It’s interesting that you mentioned how musculoskeletal physiotherapy can help you relieve back pain. When we were moving my uncle’s belongings into his new home, he lifted a heavy box and threw out his back. Maybe physiotherapy could help him quickly reduce the pain that he is experiencing in his back.

  10. Nice Article
    If you want more Information related to Physical Therapy
    Visit here:

    You have explained in a new way. Thanks

  11. I’m very happy to read such type of informative content. Thank you very much. Waiting for more and more such types of contents.

  12. I didn’t know that physiotherapists can help with cardiovascular training. My brother is looking for a way to improve his cardio health since our family has a history of heart disease. Perhaps physiotherapy could help him stay healthy.

  13. It’s good that you mentioned how physiotherapists are capable of utilizing muscle training in addition to manual therapy. My uncle has been having trouble maintaining his balance ever since he got into a car accident on his way home from work, and I have been looking for a professional that can help him regain his strength. Maybe a physiotherapist could help him with his balancing issues.

  14. We invite all the participants from all across the globe to attend “6th Global Conference on Physiotherapy, Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine”, on October 12-13, 2020 at Amsterdam, Netherlands, which includes prompt Keynote Presentations, Poster Presentations, Oral talks, and Exhibitions.

    For more details, please visit:


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