What is Physiotherapy?

To some people, a Physio is almost like a close friend who has helped them through various injuries over the course of many years. For others, Physiotherapy is a foreign term! So for those of you who are not so familiar with what we do, we’re here to clear things up!

A bit of history, if you’re interested

Physio has reportedly been around since 460 BC, with formal recognition beginning back in the 1800s after the emergence of orthopaedic surgery. During the Polio outbreak in World War I, Physiotherapy became even more recognised due to its aid in helping patients recover their physical function with exercise and other treatments. Previously patients had been told to rest and their limbs had been immobilised in casts and braces, but it was seen that getting people moving helped in their recovery more so than only taking a passive approach to treatment.

There is more and more research emerging that suggests that while passive treatments such as massage or surgery can be effective, better outcomes are often seen in patients who have received exercise therapy as well.

This is the essence of modern Physiotherapy.

What qualifications does a Physio have?

Physios have studied at university level for at least four years. They receive a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree depending on where they studied.

They are well trained in the functioning of the entire body, anatomy, biomechanics, and injury rehabilitation. They are trained in manual therapies including joint mobilisation and massage, as well as exercise therapy.

They are trained to use a combination of techniques relevant to your unique presentation and preferences to ensure that you receive the best, tailored care and outcomes. Education and patient empowerment is a big part of Physiotherapy treatments.

What conditions can Physios treat?

Physios can essentially treat anything that is resulting from an issue with the nerves, muscles, bones, ligaments and joints. Here is a list of some of the common conditions that Physiotherapists can treat:

  • Low back pain including disc injuries, facet joint issues and sciatica
  • Neck pain including disc and facet joint injuries
  • Headaches and jaw pain
  • Pregnancy-related concerns including pelvic girdle pain, pubic symphysis pain, rib pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction and hip pain
  • Hip pain including labral tears, hip impingement, and osteoarthritis
  • Knee pain including osteoarthritis, knee cap issues, and meniscal and ligament injuries
  • Rib and thoracic pain, including chest pain (once heart issues have been ruled out)
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Shoulder pain/injuries including bursitis, rotator cuff injury, dislocations and labral tears
  • Wrist pain/injuries
  • Acute sporting injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Ankle and foot injuries

Physios can also treat pain resulting from systemic and medical conditions such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer

So what can I expect during my first visit?

First of all, you’ll have a chat.

When you first see a Physiotherapist, you will be asked to tell your story, why you’ve come to see a Physio, what’s hurting, how did it come about, etc. The Physio will also ask you questions about your condition or injury, such as when it started, how long it has been happening, things that make it feel worse or better, asking about the physical demands of your job and daily life, so that they can gain an understanding of who you are, and what may be causing your pain or discomfort.

Then it’s time to look at how you’re moving.

The information you tell your Physio allows them to begin to put together an idea of where your pain may be coming from. This determines the types of assessments they may perform with you. These may be movements such as a squat or a bicep curl, special Physio tests that have been researched to determine their accuracy at diagnosing certain conditions, or palpation (a fancy word that means feeling muscles, bones or joints to see what can be found).

Time to treat.

The treatment you receive from your Physiotherapist will likely differ between sessions, and be different if you present with a new injury.

Some treatments may only involve exercises, while others may combine exercise with massage or joint mobilisation. You may find that initially you are given all hands on treatment for the first few sessions, along with one or two home exercises, then by your 4th or 5th session you may be discussing gym-based training or commencing a group exercise class with the Physio. Other times, you may be given a comprehensive exercise program straight away. It all depends on you and your injury.

How long will I need to see a Physio for?

This question can really only be answered once you have had you initial assessment with a Physio to determine where your pain is coming from. Treatment plans range from 6 weeks, 3 months, to ongoing depending on the condition or injury.

Can I claim on my private health insurance?

Yes! If you have Physiotherapy extras cover, you can claim your one-on-one sessions and group exercise sessions through your private health insurer.

Still not sure if you should see a Physio?

Give us a call to speak to one of our Physios. They’re more than happy to talk through what you have going on to determine whether Physiotherapy will be appropriate for you.

Here at All For One, our Physiotherapists service Yarraville, Footscray, Spotswood, Seddon, Brooklyn, Williamstown, Kingsville, Newport, Altona, and Port Melbourne, and the wider Melbourne community.