Table of Contents

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is defined as,

“the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery”.

Modern Physiotherapy is the complex integration of evidence based manual therapy, therapeutic exercise and self management techniques to improve movement, reduce pain, enhance healing and increase quality of life.

Physiotherapists work in hospitals, private practices, rehabilitation centres, sporting clubs and community health centres. They must be  registered in Australia by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia after successfully completing a university degree in physiotherapy. Physiotherapy courses vary from state to state and can be done through a bachelor, masters or professional doctorate program.


Physiotherapist assess, diagnosis and develop a treatment strategy which takes into account your general health, activities and lifestyle. Treatments may include:

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


Different types of Physiotherapy

Here are some of the different areas of physiotherapy:

  • Acupuncture and dry needling
  • Aquatic
  • Cancer, palliative care and lymphoedema
  • Cardiorespiratory
  • Disability
  • Emergency department
  • Gerontology
  • Mental health
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurological
  • Occupational health
  • Orthopaedic
  • Paediatric
  • Pain
  • Physiotherapy for animals, often working with vets
  • Sports
  • Vestibular Physiotherapy
  • Women’s, men’s and pelvic health