We often think of physiotherapy as treatment for after you’ve had an injury or when you need to recover from major surgery. In reality, seeing a physiotherapist has many benefits for all aspects of life, from improving mobility and reducing pain, to gaining independence and the confidence to do the things you enjoy.

Here is a handy guide to help you learn more about physiotherapy and how it can support your needs.

  1. What is physiotherapy?
  2. What conditions does physiotherapy treat?
  3. What qualifications does a physiotherapist have?
  4. Physiotherapy and seniors
    What benefits does physiotherapy offer to seniors?
    What can I expect at my first physiotherapy appointment?
    Can I physiotherapist come to me?
  5. Physiotherapy and disability
    What kinds of disabilities do physiotherapists support?
    What ways can a physiotherapist support someone living with a disability?
    Do physiotherapists treat kids?
    NDIS and Physiotherapy

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy focuses on the structure of the human body and how it moves.

Physiotherapists use evidence-based techniques to diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of health conditions such as balance problems, joint pain, surgery rehabilitation and chronic health diseases like diabetes, osteoarthritis and stroke.

They can also help people living with a disability or a chronic health condition achieve their physical goals.

Some of the things physiotherapists do include:

  • Assessing your condition, providing a diagnosis and developing an individualised plan for your treatment
  • Working with a team of other health professionals to provide treatment and support
  • Identifying the underlying factors that contribute to your health problem and supporting you in addressing them
  • Manual ‘hands on’ therapy such as soft tissue massage and joint manipulation
  • Giving you exercises to help improve the way your body moves
  • Helping you rehabilitate after an injury, surgery or stroke
  • Muscle strength training and conditioning
  • Core stability training
  • Electrotherapy to help reduce pain

Physiotherapists work in many different settings: private or public hospitals, a physiotherapy clinic, community health centre, aged care facility, sports organisations or in your own home.

You don’t need a referral from your doctor to book an appointment with a physiotherapy clinic, although they may refer you to one if they feel it is needed.

What conditions does physiotherapy treat?

Physiotherapy can treat a broad range of conditions and problems, from sudden injuries to your muscles or bones to chronic health conditions that you may have had for many years.

Here are some of the many conditions commonly treated using physiotherapy:

  • Back, neck or shoulder pain
  • Injuries to your joints or muscles, broken bones
  • Chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes
  • Neurological disorders that impact your nervous system (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Joint, knee or hip replacement – post-operative rehabilitation
  • Incontinence
  • Obesity
  • Balance problems – including falls prevention
  • Disabilities that impact movement and physical activity

What qualifications does a physiotherapist have?

As a minimum, a physiotherapist must have completed a four-year bachelor, masters or professional doctorate program and practiced under supervision in a clinical setting.

They are required by law to be registered with the National Physiotherapy Board of Australia – an organisation supported by Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency (AHPRA). They must have insurance, meet certain checks and professional standards, and be continuing their education.

Physiotherapy and seniors

As we grow older, sometimes our bodies don’t move as well as they used to. But this doesn’t mean we can’t still lead healthy and fulfilling lives, or live independently in our own home.

Physiotherapy can help seniors with a wide range of issues, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life and empowering people to be actively involved in their own care. They can also be included as part of your health care team, working holistically alongside your GP, a specialist, dietitian, exercise physiologist, nutritionist or psychologist.

We can help you access a physiotherapist in your home, using funding from your home care package.  To find out how we can help you live independently and receive quality care, get in touch for a free consultation.

What benefits does physiotherapy offer to seniors?

Alongside helping you to recover after an injury, here are some of the main benefits of seeing a physiotherapist as you age:

Improve your mobility

A physiotherapist will talk to you about what you struggle with and tailor a treatment plan that is specific to your needs. They can help you reduce stiffness, increase your mobility and improve your flexibility.

Learn how to move safely

Falling can be dangerous as you age. Physiotherapists can help you build strength, balance and stability so you can move around your home without slipping over. They can also help you exercise safely and reduce your risk of injury.

Reduce and manage pain

Physiotherapy treat and manage pain by looking at its source. They may look things that exacerbate pain such as tight or weak muscles, limited blood flow or instances of inactivity, and provide treatment to help you feel better.

Maintain independence at home

Moving confidently is a vital component to quality of life. Physiotherapy can help you keeping doing activities that maintain your independence, such as driving, walking, cooking and enjoying leisure activities.

Manage chronic conditions

Research shows physiotherapy can help prevent and treat many chronic diseases, including hypertension, emphysema, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. A physiotherapist can also help you exercise regularly to improve your health.

Rehabilitation after surgery

After major surgery such as a hip replacement, a physiotherapist can work with you to strengthen your body, restore your overall stability and improve your range of motion. They can also help you prepare for surgery by building up your strength.

Offers a non-invasive treatment option

Building strength, movement and flexibility doesn’t just treat a range of issues – it also prevents invasive treatments down the track, such as surgery and pharmaceutical intervention (e.g. pain medication).

Improve quality of life

Physiotherapy can help us stay active and independent as we age. This helps us maintain good mental health and enjoy quality of life, despite the challenges that we may face along the way.

What can I expect at my first physiotherapy appointment?

Physiotherapy treatment is tailored to your needs, so you can expect a physiotherapist to spend their first appointment talking to you about your health. They may:

  • Assess how your body functions (e.g. the strength of your muscles) with a physical examination
  • Ask you about any problems you face moving around your home or when you go out
  • Take a detailed medical history, including any chronic conditions you have
  • Explain the results of your assessment and answer any questions you may have

Once the physiotherapist reaches a diagnosis of an injury or condition, they will develop a treatment plan to manage it in the most appropriate way. They can also work with your GP, a specialist, dietitian, nutritionist or exercise physiologist to ensure you receive holistic care.

Can a physiotherapist come to me?

Yes! You can receive physiotherapy in a fully equipped clinic or, if travelling is difficult, in the comfort of your own home. To find out more about at home physio services with HomeCaring, please get in touch.

Physiotherapy and disability

Physiotherapy supports people from all walks of life in achieving their individual health goals, including people living with disability. This can help you get the most out of life, whether that means improving your mobility, helping you exercise regularly, or removing barriers that stop you from getting out in the community.

What kinds of disabilities can physiotherapy support?

Physiotherapy can support a wide range of disabilities, including conditions such as:

What ways can physiotherapy support someone living with a disability?

Alongside providing support with mobility, physiotherapy can help people living with disability participate in physical activities they enjoy. They can also help people enjoy exercise, engage in community activities if they wish, and increase their independence in daily life.

Here are some of the common ways physiotherapy can support people living with a disability.

  • Help develop someone’s walk, posture, strength and balance
  • Assess how someone moves around at home and in their daily life – including muscle strength, joint movement and balance – and recommend ways to make moving easier
  • Provide tailored exercise to help people reach their goals
  • Help people with disability access sport or recreation opportunities in the community
  • Prescribe mobility equipment to help people stand, walk or move (e.g. a wheelchair, orthotics, a specialised walking frame)
  • Provide advice and training for carers, support workers and family members on how to physically support someone with disability
  • Provide hydrotherapy sessions in a warm pool
  • Work with someone’s school or day program to provide support
  • Help people develop skills to be more mobile and independent in daily activities

Is physiotherapy available for kids?

Yes – physiotherapists work with people of all ages, including children and teenagers. A physiotherapist can help children learn new skills, improve balance and coordination, access specialised equipment, improve their balance and coordination, and develop the skills needed to take part in daily activities.

They often work with children living with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism and Muscular Dystrophy.

NDIS and Physiotherapy

The NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) provides funds for people based on their individual needs. It covers allied health therapies that improve daily living for people with disability, including physiotherapy.
This means you can receive funding for physiotherapy services from an accredited NDIS provider. For help on how to use your NDIS funding to access a physiotherapist with HomeCaring, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a FREE consultation.

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