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What is physiotherapy?

Through the use of evidence based, natural methods such as exercise, adapted equipment, education, motivation and advocacy, physiotherapy seeks to rehabilitate and improve the physical well being of patients with movement disorders resulting from disease or injury.

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Based on the study of medical science subjects including physiology, neuroscience and anatomy, physiotherapists study to develop skills and knowledge necessary for physical health education, injury prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of patients with physical disorders or disabilities.

Working inside hospitals, private practices, rehabilitation centres, sporting clubs and community health centres, registration as a physiotherapists in Australia is only available after the successful completion of a university degree in physiotherapy or with a health sciences degree which includes physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy courses vary from state to state and can be done through a bachelor, masters or professional doctorate program.


Specialising in the examination, diagnosis and treatment of patients with cardiothoracic, neuromuscular  and musculoskeletal problems that affect peoples mobility, physiotherapists help people to improve their daily lives through better physical function.

What treatments do physiotherapists prescribe?

Following assessment, a physiotherapist will devise a treatment plan which takes into account your general health, activities and lifestyle.

Common treatments include:

  • Exercise programs designed to strengthen muscles and improve mobility
  • Joint manipulation to reduce stiffness and pain, and to improve flexibility
  • Muscle re-education to improve control and prevent further or reoccurring injury
  • Soft tissue massage and mobilisation
  • Taping and strapping to improve control
  • Mobility aids such as crutches or walking sticks
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Electrotherapy - including ultrasound, diathermy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and laser therapy

Paediatric Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists may train and specialise in the treatment of adolescents and children.

Paediatric physiotherapists possess the particular skill set required to diagnose and care for children through physical treatment and motivation, and work closely with all who care for children including parents, educators GPs and other allied health professionals.

Seeing a physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are first contact health practitioners, and a GP referral is not required before consultation, though therapists may work as part of a team of health professionals while managing treatment for some conditions.


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