Exploring the Different Types of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is an extremely broad field, and it has multiple sub-specialties. Most people are familiar with the concept of physical therapy, which helps injured patients regain their normal body movements.

Physiotherapists also help patients to manage pain and improve their posture, strength and balance. In addition, they can teach them self-management techniques to reduce pain in the long term.


Musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy focuses on the body’s main structures of bones, joints and muscles. It is the area of physiotherapy most people will be familiar with and involves treating conditions or injuries which affect these areas of the body. This may include arthritic joints, back pain, sciatica, neck pain, tennis elbow or muscle strains.

MSK physiotherapists will use their expertise in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics to assess the individual and devise the most appropriate treatment. This may include manual techniques, specific therapeutic exercise, electrotherapy and advice on posture and movement disorders.

Physiotherapists will also be involved in the rehabilitation of patients following orthopaedic surgery and will work alongside other healthcare professionals to ensure an integrated approach to care. This will involve identifying and managing risk factors, facilitating self-management and establishing an early recovery plan.

This will also include developing coping strategies and helping the patient to establish their future goals which will help with their recovery and improve their quality of life. They will also support the patient through regular treatment sessions and provide a range of exercises to assist with their condition and help them to prevent secondary problems from occurring.

This is important as musculoskeletal conditions are one of the leading causes of global morbidity. They have a significant impact on an individuals ability to work and participate in society. They are a major cause of sickness absence and staff turnover in the workplace as well as a key factor contributing to early retirement. In fact, in France, musculoskeletal diseases account for half of all occupational accidents and 87% of all occupational disease compensation [1]. MSK conditions also have a significant societal cost due to the loss of productivity and the indirect costs to health care systems.


Cardiovascular physiotherapy deals with the prevention, rehabilitation and maintenance of function for clients with health problems that affect the heart and lungs. This includes patients with conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cardiovascular diseases.

Taking a prescription of pills is not the best way to manage heart and lung issues, especially when these are accompanied by other risk factors. Having a good diet, increasing exercise and improving lifestyles are the recommended ways to improve cardiac and vascular health. Using a combination of tests, a physiotherapist can design exercise programmes that are specific to each individual, improving their cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness.

When a person has undergone cardiac surgery, the physiotherapist is responsible for preventing postoperative complications, improving pulmonary function and encouraging physical activity. This can also help to reduce the length of stay on a ventilator and speed up discharge from hospital.

The field of cardiovascular physiotherapy is one that every physiotherapist will be exposed to in their professional life. It is a core subject within the undergraduate physiotherapy course and students will spend time on clinical placements managing people with respiratory and cardiorespiratory illnesses. The specialised field of cardiovascular and pulmonary physiotherapy has a wide range of practice settings, from medical and surgical wards to respiratory clinics and outpatient departments. The specialized skills of a cardiovascular and pulmonary physiotherapist are essential for a multidisciplinary team in the treatment of complex cardiac patients.


Neurological physiotherapy is the treatment of movement and function disorders caused by problems within the brain or spinal cord, such as muscle weakness and spasm, poor balance and coordination, tremors, loss of sense of touch and smell, or pain along the nerve paths (like sciatica). The specialised technique involves training the nervous system to regenerate lost pathways using repetitive actions, exercise and manual therapy.

A neurological physiotherapist will assess the impact of your symptoms and work with you to establish goals, which could be as simple as learning to walk again or improving your ability to complete everyday tasks like picking up a pen and writing. The therapist will then develop a personalised program to achieve these goals, including exercises, joint mobilisation, soft tissue massage, movement re-education, electrical stimulation and advice on lifestyle and fatigue management.

If you suffer from a condition such as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease, neurological physiotherapy can help you improve your quality of life and maximise current levels of function. It’s also useful if you have a condition that affects the inner ear, such as dizziness or vertigo. For quality physiotherapy treatments in Hervey Bay, we suggesting scheduling a visit to Promelius.

Neurological physiotherapy takes advantage of the phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, whereby the brain can form new pathways when injured. This allows for recovery from the effects of a stroke or spinal cord injury. It’s important to start physiotherapy as soon as possible after the injury to maximise the gains you can make and promote neuroplasticity. This is why a specialist neuro physiotherapist can be so beneficial. The early stages are key to recovery, especially for people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis or ALS. Earlier intervention reduces a person’s risk of long-term impairment, decreases the severity of existing symptoms and helps them return to their former level of function.


Women’s health physiotherapy is a branch of physiotherapy that specializes in the treatment of issues that impact women throughout their lives. This can include conditions such as pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and pre- or post-pregnancy concerns. Women’s health physiotherapists work with patients from adolescence through to menopause and beyond.

Women’s health physiotherapy uses an approach to treatment that considers the social, cultural and attitudinal contexts that impact on patients’ well-being and their experience of pain and illness. It aims to integrate gender theory in practice and research. Gender is a social construct that influences the body, movement and health.

Studies show that the way that patients perceive their problems and expectations when seeking physiotherapy can have consequences for their treatment. For example, it has been found that patients who identify as women may receive less treatment than those who identify as men. Moreover, women often feel they are not taken seriously by health care professionals, and are therefore not offered rehabilitation for conditions such as neck or back pain (Briones-Vozmediano, 2016).

In a recent study, Ross and Setchell found that people who identify as LGBTIQ+ have experienced challenges in accessing healthcare. This was linked to bias and discrimination as well as discomfort with touch, physical proximity, undressing and observations of the body.

Gender theory can help physiotherapists to address this issue by challenging the dominant construction of the male body and masculinity. It can also help to promote a better understanding of the diversity of bodies and their experiences in society. Moreover, incorporating gender theory into clinical practice can be helpful to reduce the inequalities and barriers that are linked to health care, as well as promoting the inclusion of a diverse range of patients.


Physiotherapy is often used as a tool for rehabilitation and recovery from injuries and pain. However, it can also be used as a preventive measure to keep your body healthy and strong.

Depending on your lifestyle, a physical therapist can work with you to create a plan that includes stretching and other manual therapy techniques to improve your flexibility and strength. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk or running a car, as this can lead to stiff shoulders and back problems.

In addition, a physical therapist can help you avoid common injuries caused by overuse. Whether you are an athlete or someone who exercises regularly, your therapist will examine your lifestyle and any previous injuries to come up with a prevention plan for future injuries.

For example, a PT may help you determine the best footwear for your new workout routine to prevent blisters or recommend an exercise program to help strengthen your back and prevent injuries from repetitive movements. Additionally, a PT can help you prepare for rigorous fitness classes like CrossFit or HIIT to ensure that your body is ready to handle the demands of these types of workouts.

Physiotherapy and physical therapy are similar in that they both use movement and hands-on techniques to treat injuries, but they differ primarily in their focus. Physiotherapy is based more on manual therapies, while physical therapy focuses more on exercise-based treatment. Understanding these differences can help you better understand your treatment options and decide what type of physiotherapy is right for you. As healthcare shifts toward a more preventative approach, working with a physical therapist can be a great way to improve your quality of life and avoid major injuries or chronic health issues.

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