Many people know the value that physiotherapy brings to their life and some have even been visiting their physiotherapist since quite early in life. However, for those who have never been to see a physiotherapist before, there can be a question mark over exactly what it is that physiotherapists do. In fact, this is one of the most common questions we as physiotherapists are asked.
What is the main job of a physiotherapist?
The answer is tricky, because physiotherapists do so much. Primarily, we might be described as pain management experts, as we work to reduce the pain of our patients, from those who have suffered a new injury, to those who have had pain for several years. We first identify the cause of the pain and then provide manual therapy techniques, education and management strategies to help our patient understand, manage and reduce their pain.
While pain is usually the first thing that brings patients to see a physiotherapist, this pain has often caused patients to give up activities that they love and can even be getting in the way of everyday tasks. Many of us reduce our activity levels to reduce pain without even realising it. Physiotherapists are able to identify which areas you are struggling in and why this is occurring.
By identifying the cause of your symptoms, we can help to get you back to full function. Physiotherapists are able to do this for everyone including elite athletes and those dealing with serious disabilities. In fact, physiotherapists have a role to play at practically every stage of life.
Specialised paediatric physiotherapists can assess infants to monitor their motor skills development and as they grow we help them deal with the pains and vulnerabilities of a growing body. Among other things, we can help improve the function of athletes, assist in preventing injuries, help those with pelvic floor dysfunction and work to prevent falls in the elderly.
Not just exercises and massage.
Physiotherapists offer a range of treatments, from targeted stretches and strengthening exercises, manual therapies, dry needling, lots of advice on activity modification and massage. Physiotherapists are also committed educators and take our role as such seriously.
A huge part of recovering from pain and injury comes from understanding what is happening and how to best manage these issues. Rather than create a dependency on their therapist, we aim to empower our patients to improve their health independently as much as possible.
Physiotherapists aim to improve your quality of life and remove any barriers to full participation, whether these barriers are due to pain, weakness or stiffness.