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What Is the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy?

Are you trying to learn more about the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy? If yes, you should check out our guide here.

Injuries cause over 5 million deaths every year worldwide. Without proper treatment, a sports or car crash injury can lead to serious problems. It could even impact your overall quality of life.

Don’t live in pain. Instead, consider visiting a professional.

Unsure who to visit? Keep reading to discover the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy. By understanding the difference between the two, you can determine what type of treatment you need.

Then, you can start healing. Get back to your life by discovering the difference between physical therapy vs physiotherapy today!

What is Physical Therapy?

What is physical therapy, exactly?

Physical therapy is a holistic approach to strengthening the body and reducing pain symptoms. Physical therapy involves manually treating muscles, tendons, fascia, and ligaments. However, physical therapists don’t treat the spine.

Physical therapists use equipment and exercises to help strengthen your body. With a customized plan, physical therapy can help you improve your range of motion and physical abilities.

What is Physiotherapy?

What is physiotherapy, then?

Like physical therapy, physiotherapy can help restore your physical well-being. If you’re suffering from pain, injury, or a disability, physiotherapy can help. Physiotherapists rely on their knowledge of the human body to diagnose and treat a range of different conditions.

Both physical therapists and physiotherapists use manual therapy during the course of treatment.

Manual therapy can include myofascial release, mobilization, and manipulation. It might also include dry needling, medical acupuncture, and electrotherapy. These forms of manual therapy will depend on where you seek treatment.

Physical therapists and physiotherapists can also offer pain management education. Learning how to manage your pain at home can improve your quality of life. These counseling techniques can help you improve how you work, play, or spend time at home.

You can explore different physiotherapy options to determine if it’s an ideal fit for your condition.

What’s the Difference?

An estimated 50 million adults in the US have chronic pain. That’s over 20% of the population. If you’re living with chronic pain, it’s important to understand the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy.

Otherwise, you might fail to receive the treatment you need for your condition.

What is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy?

Treatment Focus

For starters, the specific focus between the two differs. Physiotherapy usually involves post-operative care and other forms of hospital work. Physical therapy, on the other hand, treats non-threatening injuries like sports injuries.

Physiotherapists and physical therapists can help treat:

  • Chronic back pain (as the result of poor posture, trauma, or degeneration)
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Ligament injuries
  • Meniscal tears
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Hip fractures

However, you’ll likely need regular appointments to experience the benefits of treatment. Regular appointments can help you avoid complications after a surgery or injury. They can also help you regain your strength.

Techniques

The techniques between the two can sometimes differ, too.

For example, physical therapy can include hands-on techniques to accelerate healing. A physical therapist will likely encourage the use of exercise and functional training for recovery. Patients can use these techniques at home.

A physical therapist can also develop an exercise regimen you can use at home to accelerate your healing.

Physiotherapy, on the other hand, can involve both electrical modalities and hands-on therapy.

Electrical modalities can include ultrasound, dry needles, tens, interferential, and laser treatments. Hands-on therapy and corrective exercises are common in physiotherapy, too.

Both physical therapists and physiotherapists might recommend RICE. RICE stands for rest, ice/heat, compression, elevation. These techniques can help reduce inflammation and swelling after your surgery or injury.

Whether you choose a physiotherapist or physical therapist, you’ll receive a treatment plan designed for your unique needs. Make sure to discuss your long-term goals when developing your treatment plan.

Training

When learning the difference between a physiotherapist vs physical therapist, it’s important to consider their qualifications.

A physical therapist will need to complete a three-year, part-time degree. A physiotherapist, on the other hand, will need to train for a minimum of four years. Over those four years, they’ll need at least 1,000 clinical hours for certification.

Once they’re certified, physiotherapists and physical therapists often work in different environments. For example, most physiotherapists work in hospitals. Physical therapists, on the other hand, usually have a clinical practice and work in a private setting.

Choosing Between the Two

Now that you know the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy, let’s discuss your course of treatment.

First, think about which forms of therapy you need. You might need a combination of manual therapies, exercises, and electrical modalities.

When exploring different physiotherapists and physical therapists, ask about the techniques they use. Which would best benefit your condition?

Sometimes, the terms physical therapy vs physiotherapy are used interchangeably. Make sure to ask the therapist about their specialty.

In other cases, the difference between the two is based on your region. For example, many clinics outside of the US use the term physiotherapy. Clinics in the United States, however, might use the term physical therapy.

Choosing a Clinic

Both therapists can help you regain your range of motion after you’ve suffered from an injury. You might decide on physiotherapy if you’ve recently undergone surgery. It can take time, exercise, and certain techniques for you to regain your strength.

A sports injury can leave you on the bench for the remainder of the season. You might need to complete daily exercises to regain your strength.

In that case, you might benefit from visiting a physical therapist.

Before making your choice, ask the clinic if they take your specific insurance. Physical therapy and physiotherapy are usually both covered. However, it can help to check beforehand.

Don’t forget to confirm their years of experience, too. After all, people learn by doing. Look for a therapist that has plenty of hands-on experience over the years.

What is the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Physiotherapy?: Your Quick Guide

What is the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy? To recap, the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. However, the techniques used can sometimes differ between the two.

Make sure to discuss your long-term goals and needs with your therapist before choosing a course of treatment.

Searching for more helpful tips and guides? Explore the Health Tips section of the blog today!

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