Physiotherapist vs Physical therapist: Comparison and contrast

Many people know about a physiotherapist, while others know about physical therapists. These two professionals offer similar services to people having physical problems. But what is the difference between the two? Here is what makes each of them unique. 

A physical therapist uses a manual approach to treat or improve physical mobility. They help people with physical abnormalities, injuries, and immobility. These interventions help to increase movement and ease the pain. 

Physiotherapist vs Physical therapist

A physiotherapist uses various hands-on interventions to improve mobility and function. They also help people with physical injuries, immobility due to illnesses, and disabilities. The treatment helps to increase movement and reduce pain.

The main difference 

There is a slight difference between a physiotherapist vs a physical therapist. A physiotherapist uses massages, exercises, stretching, and joint manipulation to improve the condition. 

Physical therapists use manual intervention but focus on physical exercises. These physical exercises aim to reduce pain and improve movement. 

Professional qualifications 

Physical therapists need an undergraduate degree and a doctorate. They also need a certificate from an accredited commission. They must pass a licensing exam to practice as a physical therapist in certain states. 

A physiotherapist needs a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy or biological sciences. They need to pass a state exam to get an operation license. You can also do a master’s degree in physiotherapy.

Which types of techniques do a physiotherapist vs a physical therapist use?

Here are some methods physiotherapists and physical therapists use. The techniques vary and can help you determine their differences. 

Physical therapists use the following techniques

  • Hot and cold therapy uses hot water, infrared lights, or ice. It treats inflammations and joint pains.
  • Physical exercises include balance, floor, aerobics, walking, and swimming. It prevents illnesses and improves movement in affected areas. 
  • Electrical stimulation means passing an electric current on stiff areas. It improves blood flow and releases tension. 
  • Hydrotherapy involves exercises done underwater. It reduces joint pain and helps in the movement of the muscles.

Physiotherapists use the following techniques;

  • Massage is applying gentle pressure on muscles. It reduces pain and improves blood circulation. 
  • Joint manipulation– this is moving joints that are stiff to increase functionality. 
  • Stretching is when a physiotherapist helps a patient to stretch the soft muscles. It releases tension and aids in relaxation. 
  • The Minimal Energy Technique is when the muscle uses its energy to contract and release. It eases pain in the muscle.

There are many other techniques they use to improve patients’ conditions. The methods they use are slightly different. Some techniques are the same since they aim for the same goal. 

Where do physiotherapists and physical therapists work?

Physiotherapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and post-surgery institutions. You can also find one in a physiotherapy clinic. 

Physical therapists work in private physical therapy clinics and rehabilitation centres. You can also get physical therapists in gyms, nursing homes, and patient homes. 

Final words 

The functions of a physical therapist and physiotherapists are almost similar. In some countries, they have no difference. Either way, they are here to help us with physical wellness. Contact us if you want help from a physiotherapist or a physical therapist.