Why visit a Physiotherapist?
This is a good question, particularly considering there is choice between many different therapists available. When you have pain, you are vulnerable to the advice of many people.
Everyone wants you to see their therapist!
Fortunately for you there is Physiotherapy!
When you go to a registered physiotherapist in Sydney, you know that they have completed at least a Bachelor of Applied Science from a recognised university in order to be allowed to register to practise. Most physiotherapists (all at Macquarie Street Physiotherapy) become members of their professional body, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA). This association provides continuing education and advocacy for physiotherapists, and advice to the public, among other things. The letters APAM after your physio’s name demonstrates that they are a member of the APA.
A reflection of the professional standing that physiotherapy has in the medical community is that one no longer needs a doctor’s referral to visit a physiotherapist. If further medical imaging or opinion is required, it is understood that the physiotherapist has the expertise to decide upon and arrange this.
Physiotherapy prides itself in adhering to “evidence based practise” – this means that assessment and treatment techniques used by physiotherapist are backed up by research, rather than just “anecdotal” (unsubstantiated) evidence.
How did the physiotherapy profession develop?
Physiotherapy has developed from a medical background – in the late 1800s throughout the world, there were medical practitioners seeking other forms of specialised knowledge and skills. One of the areas was physical treatment – exercise and massage. Massage was becoming recognised as useful to encourage healing by promoting circulation to the area of injury. The Australasian Massage Association was formed in 1906. Progressively, various other forms of treatment were added: ‘gymnastic’ exercises, medical ‘galvanism’, passive movement, postural drainage and manipulation. These types of treatments were closely associated with improvements and changes in the medical world.
World wars in the 1900s resulted in wounded soldiers requiring rehabilitation. This further advanced our approach to physical therapy. The name of the profession was changed from ‘massage’ to ‘physiotherapy’ in 1939.
Physiotherapy and Medicine
Physiotherapy has continued to have a close connection with the medical and surgical world, there being physiotherapy departments in hospitals, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, pain management services, as well as private physiotherapy clinics.
When you seek the opinion of a physiotherapist today, they will have had experience in hospitals either as a student or a professional. They are familiar with pre- and post-operative patient requirements. Therefore you can have confidence in their skills to treat you after surgery or a stay in hospital for other reasons.
A great strength of the physiotherapy profession is assessment. Rather than treating all patients in the same manner, physios seek to find the source of the problem and tailor the treatment to the individual.
If you require more than a clinical assessment, liaison with your doctor regarding X-ray or MRI imaging, blood tests or referral to a medical specialist, this can be arranged.
What treatment will a physiotherapist give?
Although hands-on treatment (mobilisation/massage) is regarded as an integral part of treatment, exercises and education are equally important. This gives you the ability to improve your situation further when at home, at work or at the gym. It reduces your reliance on coming in for physio, so that the number of treatments you require can be minimized. If you are able to have a ‘toolbox’ of exercises or positions you can use to make yourself more comfortable, you feel more in control of your situation. It may be that you then consult your physio intermittently or less frequently for review, depending on the problem.
How do I find a Physiotherapist?
There is a “Find a Physio” tab on the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) website, which directs you depending on speciality or location.
As with any profession, trade or business, it is helpful to be recommended by someone you trust.
This may be your doctor, or other health professional. At Macquarie Street Physiotherapy half of our referrals are from friends, family and colleagues who have been satisfied clients of ours.
Whether your problem relates to work, sport, or too much sitting and whether it be relating to joints, muscles on the spine, there is sure to be a physiotherapist to assist, educate and provide treatment of your problem.
At Macquarie Street Physiotherapy there are five physiotherapists, all with post graduate qualifications. As such we boast a broad range of experience and skill in management of musculoskeletal conditions.