Physiotherapy: Definition, Indications, Typical Treatments and Physiotherapy Techniques

It is an effective means of treating illness and disability.

Physical therapists use only evidence-based manual therapy and various other treatment techniques.

They are movement and function experts who work in partnership with their patients, helping them overcome movement disorders  that may have been present from birth, acquired by accident or injury, or are the result of aging or a stressful lifestyle . poor posture and ergonomics.

Physiotherapy aims to empower the patient, allowing him to achieve his goals, eliminate or minimize pain and dysfunction and make beneficial changes to health, improving lifestyle.

Physical therapists investigate the cause of a dysfunction and address those factors to prevent a recurrence of an injury or problem.

Physical therapists also work closely with doctors to plan and administer treatment.

Doctors refer patients to physical therapists for a variety of conditions.

Using advanced techniques and evidence-based care, physical therapists evaluate, diagnose, treat, and prevent a wide range of health problems and movement disorders.

Physical therapy helps repair damage, reduces stiffness and pain, increases mobility, and improves quality of life.

Physiotherapy ranges from health promotion to injury prevention, intensive care, rehabilitation, maintenance of functional mobility, chronic disease management, patient and caregiver education, and occupational health.

Common reasons people seek help

Some of the needs physical therapists address include:


Prevents, rehabilitates, and supports people living with, or at risk of, diseases and injuries that affect the heart and lungs, such as heart disease or asthma.

Physical therapists help patients prepare for or recover from surgery, and prescribe exercises and other interventions to improve quality of life.

Cancer, palliative care and lymphedema

Addresses a variety of patient needs, including treatment or prevention of fatigue, pain, muscle and joint stiffness, and deconditioning.

Continence and women’s health

Achieves and prevents incontinence and pelvic floor dysfunction in men, women, and children.

Physical therapists work in areas including pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum care, breastfeeding, menopause, bedwetting, prolapse, loss of bladder or bowel control, and with men living with breast cancer. prostate or are recovering.

Support for older adults

It uses evidence-based care to promote healthy and active aging among older adults.

Physical therapists, working in home and residential nursing home settings, help manage or prevent the effects of conditions or risks such as osteoporosis, incontinence, and falls.

Skeletal muscle

Prevents and treats people with musculoskeletal conditions, such as neck and back pain.

Techniques include addressing underlying problems, preventing stresses and injuries, and prescription exercises and other interventions to promote mobility.


It promotes movement and quality of life in patients who have suffered severe brain or spinal cord damage from trauma or who suffer from neurological diseases such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.


Helps patients prevent or treat acute or chronic orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and amputations.

Physical therapists also help patients prepare for or rehabilitate from orthopedic surgery or other orthopedic hospital admissions.

Occupational health

It supports the health and well-being of workers, reduces safety risks in the workplace, prevents and manages injuries and illnesses, and supports workers in returning to work.

Pediatric (supporting infants and children)

It aims to prevent conditions such as plagiocephaly (club head) or to support a child’s development, such as addressing delays in sitting and walking milestones, clumsiness, or hyperactivity.


Manages or prevents pain and its impact on function in patients using an informed and interdisciplinary psychological approach.

Physical therapists work with other health and social care professionals to manage pain in the acute stage of an injury or condition, including by identifying psychosocial risk factors that can lead to chronicity.


It prevents, diagnoses and treats musculoskeletal and sports injuries among all types of people, from professional athletes to everyday Australians.

Acupuncture and dry needling

Helps control acute and chronic conditions such as sprains and strains, spinal dysfunction, arthritis, and neurological conditions.


Using a group, physical therapists treat patients with a multitude of conditions using hydrotherapy, including sports injuries, post-operative and orthopedic conditions, spinal pain or injuries, and arthritis.

Aquatic physical therapy is popular for elderly care.

The typical physical therapy

A typical session with a physical therapist is unique to the needs of the patient and their state of health.

Treatment also depends on the scope of the physical therapist’s practice. However, a ‘typical’ session may involve:

  • Assess and diagnose the patient’s condition and needs.
  • Work with the patient to set and achieve goals, whether it is to maintain mobility and independence in caring for the elderly or to run a marathon.
  • Develop a treatment or prevention plan that takes into account lifestyle, activities, and general health.
  • Prescription exercise and physical assistants if necessary.

Physical therapy can help in many conditions, including:

  • Arthritis.
  • Ankle instability.
  • Pain in the back and neck.
  • Knee injuries
  • Disorders associated with whiplash.
  • Muscle, tendon and ligament injuries, sports injuries.
  • Joint pains
  • Joint sprains.
  • Sciatica.
  • Shoulder problems such as frozen shoulder and shoulder shock.
  • A continuation of orthopedic surgery treatment (such as joint replacement).
  • Fractures

Physiotherapy treatment

There is a fundamental difference between physical therapy and medication for pain control, the medications alleviate the symptoms that are caused by diseases, while physical therapy acts on the underlying cause of the problem.

This difference is important, because the role of physical therapy is to address the original root of the problem.

Medication can only treat pain, and pain is just a sign that something is not working well in the body.

This is why physical therapy is so important in terms of fully treating any condition.

A full evaluation will be conducted during the initial consultation.

The physical therapist will take a detailed history of the patient’s condition plus any relevant medical information and perform a physical evaluation to determine the clinical diagnosis of their problem.

Based on the information obtained during this evaluation, the physical therapist will formulate a treatment plan aimed at reducing pain and restoring movement and function as normal as possible.

Treatment may include massage to reduce soft tissue stress, mobilizations to help the joints move more freely.

Counseling to change your posture during certain tasks (to avoid stressing an area), exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination, acupuncture, and electrotherapy to help reduce pain and promote healing.

Everyone is different and the treatments are individually designed and therefore vary from person to person.

Whenever possible, the physical therapist will ensure that not only is full physical capacity restored, but that how to prevent future problems is learned through effective and realistic self-management specifically tailored to your needs and abilities.

Physical therapists have the scope to advise and provide a long-term preventive program.

In some conditions, full recovery may not be possible. In these conditions, physical therapy can help maximize your potential and advise on long-term management.

Physiotherapy Techniques

A physical therapist will do a clinical evaluation of each patient as an individual.

This will look at the root cause of the disorder, whether it be in the joint or muscle or even the nerves themselves.

Patients will be told how they can manage their condition and how they can make sure they don’t make it worse.

Various techniques are used, which can range from manipulation of the joints to exercises, to massage or even hydrotherapy.

However, whatever technique is used, the goal is always to encourage the body to heal itself.

Exercise programs

Exercise is the aspect of physical therapy that most people are familiar with.

Sometimes this can be general in the sense that patients are advised to walk more or do some type of specific activity, such as swimming.

In other cases these exercises can be very specific to the condition a person may have and may involve exercises to strengthen particular areas of the body or to increase flexibility in the joints.

These are tailored to your individual needs and are designed to improve strength, movement, and coordination, as well as to improve joint position and function.

What each patient needs will depend on the problems identified.

The program will be designed according to your individual needs; taking into account any other medical problems that may influence your ability to exercise.

Manual therapy

Massage can be used to ensure that circulation is improved and blood flow is healthy.

It can also be used to introduce greater flexibility or movement within a specific area.

If a patient has a fluid build-up, massage can be used to help the body drain the fluid and prevent further build-up.

This is a “hands-on” therapy that helps relax muscles, reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, reduce pain, joint mobilizations to improve joint movement and help it move better, aid healing, to prevent adhesions that develop after injury and promote healthy soft tissue alignment.


Electrotherapy is not as scary as it sounds, it is a completely non-invasive technique, like neuromuscular electrical stimulation, which causes a tingling sensation as small electrical impulses are used to block pain signals.

This is the use of electrical energy to promote healing and relieve pain.

Ultrasound is the transmission of energy through sound waves that creates increased activity in cells and promotes healing.

The proposed benefits of ultrasound therapy include improving the healing rate of certain soft tissues. Is used to:

  • Increase blood flow in areas to accelerate the resolution of the inflammatory process.
  • Stimulate the production of collagen, which is an essential protein in tendons and ligaments, during tissue healing.

Among the injuries most commonly treated with ultrasound we have:

  • Bursitis.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Muscle tension.
  • The osteoarthritis .
  • Ligament and tendon injuries.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is used to relieve pain.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machines are small portable devices that many people with chronic pain purchase to use at home.


This is an ancient healing technique derived from the philosophy of Eastern medicine, which is now well researched by Western medicine physicians and its use is widely accepted.

“Western-style” acupuncture is used to promote healing and provide pain relief in musculoskeletal conditions.


Hydrotherapy can be used to help with circulation problems, to relieve pain, and also to relax any muscles that may be too tight.

As the name suggests, it is physiotherapy carried out in a pool or specially designed hydrotherapy bath.


Physical therapists diagnose the cause of problems.

This can be due to injury to a single structure, or due to more complex problems involving multiple structures, due to disease, or due to postural and movement imbalances.

Physical therapists will give you advice on what is causing your pain, how best to manage your current symptoms, and how to correct things (like your office desk) that may be contributing to these symptoms.

The advice can help you adjust what you are doing to allow the injury to heal, it can help prevent the problem from happening again, and it can teach you to manage symptoms.