People will see a physiotherapist, or physio, for a number of different reasons, normally related to some type of accident or illness that has happened, either at home or in the workplace.
What Does a Physio Do?
A physio will see someone for a number of different reasons and will start off with a physiothaerapy consultation, similar to that of a GP or dentist. These can include treatment following an injury, often sports or exercise-related. They can help to prevent exercise injuries, assist recovery from conditions such as a stroke, help to manage diabetes and vascular conditions, help to improve balance and prevent falls, especially with the elderly and manage age-related issues.
The work that a physio does often is often related to helping alleviate back and knee pain, arthritis, aches, sprains and injuries, incontinence, recovery from broken bones, recovery from surgery, developmental work with children and outpatient health.
Any treatment offered by a physio is likely to start with an assessment, followed by a diagnosis and the development of a treatment program. Any program will depend upon the injury or surgery of the person involved but is likely to centre around alleviating pain and generating better mobility, both in the affected area and for the individual as a whole.
It is likely the physio will develop a variety of exercise programs. If in a hospital or clinical setting, then the physio will work with the individual on a daily basis in order to get them comfortable with the exercises they are being asked to do.
Normally, these exercises are designed to help the body regain its natural movement and are often recommended for long-term use. Manual therapy is often used by physios and can be a mixture of massage and joint manipulation. It should be stressed that physios are not chiropractors or osteopaths, and do not manipulate joints the way these other professions do.
A physio may well advise on different types of mobility aids, both in relation to post-operative rehabilitation, and more long-term needs relating to the individual's home or lifestyle.
People will often opt to see a physio before any injury or accident actually occurs, especially if they are involved in significant amounts of physical activity, sports or exercises. A physio can help someone develop an exercise program that is likely to diminish or significantly reduce the amount of any damage likely to be done.
This can be especially important if an individual is doing a lot of demanding exercises, where there may be a significant amount of stress or strain put on the body.
Anyone in Australia can visit a physio--they do not need a GPs referral. It should be noted, however, that there is likely to be a cost involved, unless there are circumstances such as a company referral or where Medicare may cover the cost of some visits.