what is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy? You will find out about that in this article:
There have always been looming questions about physiotherapy and physical therapy. People ask questions like, what is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy? What could the similarities between the two terms be? What is the distinctive feature (if there is any at all) between physiotherapy and physical therapy?
In our post, we will provide you with a complete answer to all of these questions by striking a complete and thorough comparison between both terms. We will also provide you with answers to other related frequently asked questions about physiotherapy and physical therapy.
Read on to get the right justifications for “The difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy” as well as whatever questions you have with respect to these two terms.
As much as you might like to use these terms in place of one another, it is important that you get to understand that there are slight differences in what they both represent. Learning about these differences and understanding them will help you to know which one of them best suits the narrative of the event at hand. This will also help you as a medical student/practitioner, to be able to provide the best care for your patients.
Table of Contents
What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy, in brief, can be defined as the use of physical measures to treat a patient. These include the use of manipulative devices for some specific functions like massage, exercises, ultrasound, and sometimes heat to correct a deformity, illness, or injury without having to make your patient undergo surgery.
Those who majored in this field are referred to as physiotherapists. Their basic methods of bringing ailment to the table include the use of manual therapies, giving health education and advice to patients, and prescribing exercise routines for patients.
One appealing fact about physiotherapists is that they study individuals as a whole including studying the general lifestyle of the patient in a bid to ensure their wellbeing.
What Is Physical Therapy?
This form of health care is specifically designed to bring about pain reduction, improve mobility in a person’s body, and ensure the proper functioning of the body. Physical therapy is most importantly used but is not limited to patients’ systematic ailing from surgeries or injuries. This treating process can otherwise perform functions like improving balance etc.
The providers of physical therapy are physical therapists. They are trained and licensed medical professionals. Physical therapists are experienced in diagnosing physical health abnormalities with the aid of clinical measures, they help to restore physical mobility, maintain physical functions, as well as help to promote physical activity.
What Is The Difference Between Physiotherapy And Physical Therapy? Their Major Difference
The difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy will be highlighted in this section of our article.
- The primary difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy is that Physiotherapists employ the use of oral/manual therapies as their major focus in healing patients while physical therapists are more practical-based related health care providers.
- Although the goals of these two forms of treatment are similar, they are understandably different in the approach they use in reaching their common goals.
- Physiotherapy is also primarily widely used in different settings than physical therapy. Physiotherapy is often a hospital-based profession, partaking in post-operative care and other urgent situations. Physical therapy, on the other hand, is more often used for lesser life-threatening injuries.
A physical therapist will focus on assessing and treating problems like muscle aches, pains, strains, injuries, and chronic movement issues like arthritis. Physical therapists can carry out their duties outside hospitals.
Common Physical Therapy Techniques and Measures used in Operating:
- Physical exercise is the major technique used by physical therapists in most of their operations. They design and prescribe exercises to patients with respect to the patient’s form of ailment, to help improve the proper function of the affected body parts.
These exercise routines are prescribed in a bid to help contract and relax the injured parts of the body. Physical therapists will demonstrate and have these exercises practiced instantly by their patients, they tend to do this to ensure the mastering of the exercise processes by their patients, after which they will be told to practice them at home, thereby bringing back a healthy comfort to the patient in question.
- Another method used by physical therapists is the use of equipment like ice and cold packs or infrared heat in their treatments. Hot and cold therapies can be used to cure certain chronic ailments and reduces pain. Some use the ultrasound treatment method as it includes the usage of deep heat to reduce inflammation in affected areas.
- The “TENS units” are another common piece of equipment used by physical therapists when treating both chronic and acute pain. This is carried out as follows-
Electrodes will be placed on the patient’s skin near the affected and painful area. The signals from these electrodes will then be sent through the patient’s nerve fibers to the affected part specifically, in order to block the pain signals.
Common Physiotherapy Techniques and Measures used in Operating:
Most of the techniques used by physiotherapists in discharging their duties are manipulated devices and equipment specially designed to increase mobility, and perform the functions of a masseur on the body tissues, more like a prototype-worker machine.
This equipment helps to facilitate improvement in blood circulation, brings about the reduction of pain and stiffness in the affected region, as well as promotes movement and relaxation.
Some of the techniques used by this equipment are listed below
- Massaging of the body is carried out to help stimulate soft tissues in the patient’s body
- Soft tissue techniques like stretching and myofascial release
- The joint mobilization and manipulation involve the gliding of the joints to improve the motion, functions, and control of the joint
- Physiotherapy instrument mobilization (PIM) has got to do with the use of handcrafted instruments
- Minimal energy techniques (METs) involve the use of the muscle’s energy to relax the muscles through autogenic or reciprocal inhibition and lengthen the muscle
- Osteopathy, acupuncture, and kinesiology
Should I See a Physical Therapist or a Physiotherapist?
Logically, for most people, this type of question is often answered with respect to where you will be receiving the treatment.
As explained above, physiotherapists are most likely to be found working in clinics, hospitals, and post-surgery facilities. If a patient visits any of the above institutions, they are likely to be directed to a physiotherapist within. This is usually because they are related professions.
However, patients whose conditions are not life-threatening may be redirected to physical therapists by physiotherapists as the attention they may get from them will be short-lived. Physical therapists are usually found in rehabilitation facilities, most especially at the gyms. Depending on the patient’s condition, they are likely to receive a longer period of care and attention from physical therapists.
Sometimes, patients whose treatment begins with the physical therapist might end up going to the physiotherapists if the situation warrants it. Whichever and regardless of the professional a patient is seeing, both professions offer an incredible and without doubt effective treatment for patients experiencing pain.
Closing Remarks on The Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy:
In summary, the difference between these professions is primarily their mode of approach to reaching their goals. We hope with this article you find the justification for the above topic- What is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy? Although they are closely related and can sometimes be used interchangeably randomly, that does not make it less obvious that the difference is noteworthy.
For further questions, write to us in the comment section provided below this page and we will attend to your question promptly.
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