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What’s the Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy?

Physiotherapists and physical therapists are often seen as interchangeable terms. With a ten-year projected growth of 26% from 2016 to 2026, it’s important to know the difference as they’re becoming more and more common.

They’re not interchangeable terms and there is a difference between these two professions. We’re going to discuss how the two terms differ, so you can make an informed treatment choice.

Beware of the Protected Term

First, we need to discuss the job title in question. The term ‘physical therapist’ is not a protected term. In other words, anyone can call themselves a physical therapist. This can potentially open clients to abuse when used by the wrong person.

The term ‘physiotherapy’, on the other hand, is a protected term. Only qualified professionals who work with a licensing body can legally use this term to describe themselves and their business.

In the US, there are some differences between states.

How Hands-On Therapy Plays a Role

The main difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy is the type of technique used primarily in that field.

Hands-on techniques tend to be the arena of physical therapists. Dry needling and electrical modalities are common to accelerate the healing process.

Physical therapists may also provide exercise programs, with a focus on functional training.

Physiotherapists and the Use of Electrical Modalities

Physiotherapists most often turn to electrical modalities to achieve an improvement in their clients. They may use ultrasounds, laser treatments, and interferential treatments.

Of course, they also use some hands-on therapies. They may also use dry needling and electrical modalities. And it’s not uncommon, if you look to physiotherapy Newmarket, for you to be prescribed with an exercise program to accelerate recovery.

Why the Confusion?

As you can see, the confusion most often occurs because there’s a lot of crossover in the treatment options provided by both physical therapists and physiotherapists.

But although they use similar techniques, there’s a difference. Therefore, your doctor will analyze your condition carefully before recommending either a physiotherapist or a physical therapist.

Which is the Best Option for You?

Back in 2010, approximately 4.27 million Canadians received severe injuries that limited their movement and would demand a visit from a physiotherapist or a physical therapist.

The best option is usually a physiotherapist. Since they operate under the protected term, they’re guaranteed to be fully qualified and fully licensed to treat you.

The risks of receiving treatment from someone who isn’t equipped to carry out treatment are substantial. Plus, physiotherapists can provide extremely similar treatments as physical therapists do.

Last Word – Do Your Research Before Choosing a Clinic

We always recommend doing your research before choosing a clinic to receive your treatment from. Check the qualifications and registrations of all personnel present.

Look into what other previous clients say about that clinic. You can easily find these unbiased reviews with a quick Google search.

It’s your body, don’t take any risks.

Are you in need of a physiotherapist to aid in your recovery?



Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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