Physiotherapy, also referred to as physical therapy, involves evaluating, diagnosing, and treating a range of diseases, disorders, and disabilities using physical means. Practiced by physiotherapists or physical therapists, physiotherapy is considered within the realm of conventional medicine. Though physiotherapy is typically practiced by physical therapists, certain tasks may be delegated to trained assistants or other types of health professionals.
Physiotherapy begins with an assessment of the patient's condition. This assessment typically includes a medical history review and a physical examination. Often, the medical history review is considered a subjective examination, while the physical exam is considered objective. Both elements are important to successfully examining and treating the patient. The assessment stage may, in some cases, involve diagnostic tests to better evaluate the patient's condition and develop an effective treatment plan.
Treatment is guided by the findings of the assessment. Based on the unique needs of the patient, various physiotherapeutic treatment methods are employed. Such methods may include musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary physiotherapy techniques. Physiotherapeutic treatment methods are constantly evolving as the field grows.
In addition to the physiotherapeutic methods used in treatment, physical therapists often provide patients with guidance regarding such things as walking devices and mobility aids. Good physical therapists also work hard to help patients stay informed about their particular conditions and the required treatments. Patient education is key to the success of physiotherapy.