A physiotherapist is a health professional who has undertaken a 4-year university degree and is trained in the assessment of body function. Physiotherapy is a broad term though. Whilst the general population is familiar with the musculoskeletal area (e.g. sports injuries), physiotherapists also specialise in many other areas including neurological conditions (e.g. stroke, brain injuries), cardiorespiratory conditions (e.g. asthma, chronic lung disease) and occupational health, just to name a few.
A physiotherapist not only acts in empathy towards the patient, they are also backed up by scientific research and a large knowledge base that guides their treatment. They have the ability to assess a condition and manage it from the acute stage right through to the rehabilitation phase.
How important is preventative work to physiotherapy?
As physiotherapists, education is our greatest challenge. Physiotherapists are trained to analyse the underlying cause of injury (e.g. workplace ergonomics, diet, lifestyle factors, muscle strength and flexibility) however in the end, recovery relies on the patient making changes and following through with their prescribed treatment plan. An individual needs to genuinely understand their condition and the reasoning for specific exercises so they feel they can take charge of their treatment and improvement.
The key to long term health is to seek help from the professionals (including your physiotherapist), ask plenty of questions and follow through with the prescribed treatment.