Physiotherapy vs. Physical Therapy

May 25, 2021

Physiotherapy vs. Physical TherapyHave you recently been in a car accident or undergone surgery? Your doctors may have recommended you schedule a physiotherapy appointment as you heal and recover. If you have never seen a physical therapist before then you might wonder what the difference is between physical therapy and physiotherapy. The short answer is that they are two terms that refer to the same thing! Physiotherapy and physical therapy are both terms used to describe the medical profession that supports healing, recovery, and prevention of a wide variety of injuries, illnesses, and diseases. When you see a physical therapist, they can help you with pain management and improving or restoring your range of motion. Your treatment plan will depend on your specific circumstances, including what brings you to physiotherapy.

Education, Training, and Experience

In order to become a physical therapist, a person must earn a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from an institution that is accredited and then pass a state licensure exam. Students who study physical therapy will first complete a bachelor’s degree in a science or related area before attending physical therapy school. A physiotherapy education involves specialty coursework and training on body mechanics, movement, and mobility. Students complete a significant number of hours in training and internship experiences in order to gain the necessary experience to become a physical therapist.

Why Physical Therapy Is Important

Physical therapy is available to people of all ages and is a non-surgical, non-invasive way to manage your healing and recovery after an injury or to address an illness or disease. When you meet with a physical therapist after an injury, they will be able to assess how the injury has affected your mobility and strength. This will help determine the goals and outcomes for your treatment. Physical therapy helps you to strengthen damaged, healing muscles and musculature that supports an injured area. Physiotherapy is typically also recommended after surgery to help with pain, scar tissue, regaining strength, and addressing range of motion.

Common Issues Treated with Physiotherapy

Physical therapy is commonly associated with recovery after surgery. It is also beneficial in many other situations, including helping provide support for musculoskeletal injuries and issues. Neck and back injuries are common in car accidents, and a physical therapist can help you regain your strength and range of motion in your spine and supportive tissues. Physical therapy can also help manage your pain as you recover from a car accident injury or another similar type of issue.

Physiotherapy is also an option to prepare for surgery because it can help reduce complications and even help to shorten your recovery period. When you meet with a physical therapist before surgery, they may recommend exercises to improve your strength and increase your stamina before undergoing a serious medical procedure with a long recovery period. Pre-operative physical therapy can also help to improve your cardiovascular health and prepare your body for surgery.

Some surgeries and invasive procedures come with long recovery periods that can leave you weaker and can cause you to slowly lose your mobility or range of motion. A physical therapist will help support you through the recovery process by utilizing stretches and exercises to strengthen your weakened muscles and help get you on your feet again.

Physical Therapy Treatment Approaches

How do you prepare for your physical therapy appointment? Physical therapy treatment plans vary depending on your specific needs so that you can get the individualized care you need. A physical therapist will develop your individualized treatment plan that may involve options like manual therapy, exercise therapy, and other non-invasive options. Manual therapy treatment techniques include gentle adjustments and manipulations to the joints, which can help reduce pain and range of motion. Therapeutic massage can also help encourage blood flow to the area and help to break down scar tissue. Stretches and exercises can help you regain your strength while you also focus on improving your balance and coordination.

Physiotherapy and Comprehensive Care

At AICA Orthopedics, we have multiple locations across metro Atlanta so you can find a physical therapist near you who can help you through your recovery process. Our multi-specialty team of doctors includes orthopedists, chiropractors, surgeons, and physical therapists who can help you through any type of injury or illness from diagnosis through recovery. Whether you were recently injured in a car accident, suffered a sports injury, or are dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or recovery after surgery, our team of doctors is here to help.


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