In 2013, there were estimated to be over 500,000 physiotherapists working in the EU. That figure is thought to have increased since then, with physiotherapy continually expanding and becoming more advanced for a variety of different health problems.

Many people just assume the role of a physiotherapist is to help with sports injuries and back problems. Whilst this is true, physiotherapists are certainly not limited to just that. In fact, qualified physiotherapists are able to provide treatment for a huge variety of other conditions too, including an array of injury, disease or age-related issues. And, with some physiotherapists being able to prescribe essential medication without having to consult a doctor, it’s clear to see how much of a positive impact physiotherapists can have.

If you or someone you know thinks they may need the help of a physiotherapist and would like to know more, read on to discover what physiotherapy is, what it does, and how it can successfully alleviate painful symptoms and make people feel better on a long-term basis.

What actually is physiotherapy?

In its simplest terms, physiotherapy is the professional practice of providing treatment for physical problems and pain from a range of sources. These can include injuries, disease, and age-related ailments.

White Pine Health mentions that a physiotherapist’s main role is to not only alleviate painful symptoms that may have arisen, but to also restore the optimum functioning of the affected area and hopefully give their patient a long-term, lessened effect of their issue. Physiotherapists are not only present in hospitals and can be found in a variety of other places such as healthcare facilities, gyms, schools and even in some workplaces.

Due to the significant amount of different injuries and issues physiotherapists have to face, they often specialize in a number of areas. Physiotherapy is therefore split into three main areas of expertise:

  • Neurological – Treats disorders and pain associated with the nervous system. The most common injuries seen by physiotherapists in this area are brain and spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and MS (multiple sclerosis).
  • Musculoskeletal – Also known as orthopedic physiotherapy, this area treats the largest variety of conditions. These include arthritis, back pain, sprains, and an array of sports-related injuries.
  • Cardiothoracic – Treats disorders such as emphysema, asthma and bronchitis.

What do physiotherapists do?

In order to successfully complete their main job role, there are a variety of tasks and strategies that physiotherapists can take dependent on their patient’s specific circumstances.

In your initial appointment, the physiotherapist will fully assess your physical condition and make an appropriate diagnosis. A bespoke treatment plan will then be created to ensure you receive the best possible care for your specific injury or condition. In many cases, physiotherapists may have to retrain their patients to walk again with the assistance of walking frames or crutches.

It’s also the job of a physiotherapist to properly educate patients and their families on exactly what their treatment is providing, and how to lead a healthy lifestyle and prevent further injury or discomfort.

To find out even more about the specific roles and responsibilities of a qualified physiotherapist, take a look at Bodyworks Edinburgh for extra information.


How can they help?

No matter what injury or condition you may be facing, a physiotherapist will always provide a tailored treatment plan that is specific to your circumstances. This is what makes the expertise of physiotherapists stand out against general doctors.

There are many types of therapies a physiotherapist can administer depending on their patient’s individual requirements. Some injuries may simply require an exercise program to strengthen muscles and regain posture, and some may need manual therapy that can include joint manipulation and resistance training.

However, some injuries and disorders may require long-term, consistent therapy to re-configure everyday repetitiveness. For example, back pain can often be caused by repetitive, manual activities in the workplace. So, in order for the pain to be permanently fixed and helped, the physiotherapist must establish which specific activity is responsible and give their patient a safe but effective alternative they can use instead.

Offering much more than just treatment for sports injuries, qualified physiotherapists boast a vast and specialist skill-set that can be applied to a huge array of disorders, injuries and painful ailments. And, since they can often be found in a wide variety of different locations from your local sports centre to your child’s school, getting in touch with a professional and seeking help couldn’t be easier if you’re suffering from any of the conditions discussed above.

Nicki Llewellyn is the founder of Bodyworks Edinburgh, a massage and physiotherapy clinic in Edinburgh, U.K. Founded in 2013, Nicki and his team set out to help clients improve muscular issues, sports performance and any injuries to bring them back to full health.

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