With the number of physiotherapists working in Canada on the rise, people may wonder what the difference is between physiotherapy vs physical therapy.
The physiotherapy vs physical therapy question is actually quite easy to answer: there is no discernable difference between the two terms. Having said that, there can be a difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy – you just won’t find it in most medical manuals or physiotherapy glossaries.
Below, we’ll dive into what differences you may encounter when asking the ‘physiotherapy vs physical therapy’ question, as well as examine some of the applications and techniques used by physical therapy health practitioners.
While there may not be a difference between the two terms, that doesn’t mean that everyone will use the words interchangeably.
Until recently, the difference between physical therapy vs physiotherapy typically went like this:
- Physical therapy was often associated with an exercise-based approach to treatment
- Physiotherapy was typically focused on hands-on manual-based therapy
For those unfamiliar with the term, manual therapy refers to:
- The use of hands-on treatments that are designed to relieve pain and restore range of motion through joint mobilization. This is achieved through kneading and manipulating muscles to flush out scar tissue, helping to alleviate pain at the source while also promoting the healing process.
Exercise-based treatment, by contrast, involves:
- A regimen or plan of physical activities prescribed to help patients recover from conditions which disturb their movement and activity.
That manual-exercise distinction between physical therapy and physiotherapy has all but disappeared over the past few years, however, and now the terms physical therapy and physiotherapy have become largely synonymous.
Note, however, that the physical therapy vs physiotherapy answer could change slightly based on your geographical location.
In many commonwealth countries, for instance, like Canada and the UK, the terms physiotherapy and physical therapy were differentiated based on education and training, with physiotherapy in the past having been considered a more skilled profession relative to physical therapy.
In the United States, meanwhile, the terms have pretty much always been used interchangeably.
But if you ask someone who is perhaps a little older or has been working in the industry for a number of years, they may supply a different answer should you ask them ‘what is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy’?
Physical Therapy Vs Physiotherapy – What’s Really Important
While the physiotherapy and physical therapy difference isn’t really all that distinct or important these days, here’s what is important: your treatment. After all, it doesn’t matter what you call them so long as your physiotherapist and physical therapist provide care and proper treatment.
Getting you the right treatment – regardless of the preferred term – is the most important job for a physical therapist or physiotherapist.
Physiotherapy helps improve and restore function and mobility in the body by pinpointing an injury’s root cause. It can include:
- Physical rehabilitation and recovery
- Injury prevention
- Managing chronic conditions
- Restoring movement and range of motion
- Pain relief
- And more
While physiotherapy (also referred to as PT therapy) is often associated with athletes or sports medicine, plenty of people outside of sports benefit from physiotherapy.
So while physiotherapy vs physical therapy as a debate is ultimately moot, what remains important is helping patients recover and improve their range of motion and physical strength.
How Physiotherapy Can Help – Therapy Treatments
As outlined above, physiotherapy can be used to treat a number of different ailments and conditions, including:
- Sports injuries
- Knee pain
- Shoulder pain
- Soft tissue damage
- Back pain
- Joint pain
- Neck pain
- Ankle sprains
- Restoring mobility in joints
- Strengthening muscles
As physiotherapy has a wide range of applications, it has an equally diverse set of techniques that will help in your recovery or treatment.
Physical therapies include:
- General physiotherapy
- Supplemental massage therapy
- Advanced techniques like ultrasound therapy and electrotherapy,
PT health providers and practitioners are always on the lookout for the best ways to improve patient outcomes and overall health and wellness.
White Pine Health Private Practice – Patient-Centered Physiotherapy
There you have it. Now when people ask ‘what’s the difference between physical therapy and physiotherapy?’ or ‘is physiotherapy and physical therapy the same?’ you have an answer ready at hand.
But we know that the physiotherapy vs physical therapy question isn’t likely to be the only question you have regarding PT treatments.
Health providers at White Pine Health offer a full range of physiotherapy and rehabilitation services in the Brampton area. Committed to patient-centred treatments, we don’t cut corners and work with our clients to develop a physiotherapy plan that works for them, making White Pine among the top physical therapy clinics in the region.
We approach every patient’s unique conditions with a specialized treatment plan intended to restore and improve our patient’s health, helping them get pain-free and mobile.
And with your PT needs not slowing down during the pandemic, White Pine Health offers virtual physiotherapy sessions so you can get the care you need right from the comfort of your own home. Contact us to book a free 20-minute video session and start living pain-free!