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Physiotherapy Print this page


What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy assesses, diagnoses, treats and works to prevent disease and disability through physical means.

Physiotherapy aims to restore proper functioning to the body or, in the case of permanent disease or injury, to reduce the impact of any dysfunction.

How do physiotherapists work?

Physiotherapists use manual therapies, exercise programs and electrotherapy techniques to treat musculoskeletal conditions (e.g. arthritis, sports injuries or back pain), neurological conditions (e.g. stroke, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries) and cardiothoracic conditions (e.g. emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis).

Physios are trained to assess your condition, diagnose the problem and help you understand what is wrong. Treatment plans will take into account your lifestyle, activities and general health.

Source in part from Australian Physiotherapists Association)

Why do we need physiotherapists?

Physiotherapists work in a wide variety of ways to assist their clients, including

  • Exercise programs to improve mobility and strengthen muscles
  • Joint manipulation and mobilisation to reduce pain and stiffness
  • Muscle re-education to improve control
  • Airway clearance techniques and breathing exercises
  • Soft tissue mobilisation
  • Acupuncture
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Assistance with use of aids, splints, crutches, walking sticks and wheelchairs


Where do physiotherapists work?

Physiotherapists work in public hospitals, private practices, community health centres, rehabilitation centres, sporting clubs, fitness centres, schools and in the workplace.

Some physiotherapists work alone, while others work with a team of health care providers to offer a multifaceted approach to your rehabilitation.

Finding a physiotherapist

Your doctor may be able to refer you to a physiotherapist, and other health professionals may also be able to suggest a suitable physiotherapy service for your needs.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association has a tool to help you find a private physiotherapist near you: