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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What types of treatment does physiotherapy involve?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Joel Laing


    I am a McKenzie Method specialised physiotherapist, with a Diploma in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy. Using the McKenzie Method I predominantly treat low back and … View Profile

    Typically it involves hands on techniques such as massage and joint mobilisation to relieve pain. Other technqies such as taping, dry needling and sometimes machines like ultrasound (although evidence is not strong for this and so it is far less typically used now then it was 10 years ago!). This is then supplemented with some advice usually about strengthening, posture and other factors depending on your particular issue.
    This is how most physiotherapists treat.

    I am a McKenzie Method physiotherapist, and so treat by an almost opposite philosophy to what I just described which is the more common approach (in Australia). As a McKenzie Physiotherapist we predominatly educate you and teach you specific exericses (that are identified during the assessment) to relieve your own symptoms. This allows you to “treat yourself” as often as required, and gives you the tools to keep yourself better and to prevent recurrences. It is evidence based and originated in New Zealand (by Robin McKenzie). 

    I prefer the McKenzie approach (and am trained in both so have a fair perspective to compare the two) as the focus is on educating people as to the nature of their problem, and teaching them how to manage it which saves them time and money. Most health professionals and current research agree that an active approach is preferrable and reduces the liklihood of becoming therapist dependant and leading to chronic cycles of pain. 

  • Tony Gibson


    Physiotherapist of 30 years experience. Member of Sports Med Aust. APA Sports Group Post Grad Dip in Sports Sci PGD McKenzie. Member of McKenzie Institute. … View Profile

    Physiotherapy usually involves active measures taken by the physio or taught by the physio to the client. Most commonly for back problems it's exercises ,stretches , mobilisations or teaching correct posture. Physiotherapy in general has a multitude of areas from treating newborns to rehab following strokes and these different areas have varying techniques fom the use of splints or plasters to various electronic devices.
    If you need to see a physio chose one who is appropriate to your problem area. If you call , most physio practices can direct you to the appropriate person if they don't specialise inthat area.

  • Antony Lo


    Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (trainee Specialist) in Marrickville, Sydney, NSW, Australia. I specialise in the spine, especially the thorax and pelvis (SIJ). I enhance sports performance, address … View Profile

    Physiotherapy is an awesome profession because it can help so many people. In addition to the answers above, physiotherapy can help in the following areas.
    + Musculoskeletal - anything to do with a bone, muscle, joint, etc
    + Sports - anything relating to a sports injury (like musculoskeletal)
    + Cardiopulmonary - these physios specialise in how physiotherapy can help heart and lung conditions, metabolic conditions like diabetes and even in ICU to help keep your chest clear
    + Neurological - these physios help patients with conditions and diseases that affect your brain and the nerves of your body
    + Paediatric - these physios help from premature babies to ~16years old with conditions that afflict children - often a mix of neurological, cardiopulmonary and musculoskeletal
    + Equine/Canine - these physios apply their knowledge to horses and dogs
    + Geriatric - like paediatric physios but on the other end of the scale - older patients and the particular conditions and diseases that affect them
    +Community - these physios help patients in their own home, often after an injury, operation or hospital stay
    + OH+S - these physios help people who have their work as a significant contributing factor to their injury/condition or problem

    I am sure there are many more areas of physio - please see for more information.

    The treatment you will receive from a physiotherapist will depend on what the problem is and what you need to fix it.


    Antony Lo - Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist -

  • Jonathan Harris


    Jonathan Harris is a Titled Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist having achieved Master Degrees in both fields. As well as his undergraduate Physiotherapy degree he also … View Profile

    Physiotherapy is an increadibly diverse field and involves a number of different treatment techniques.  It really depends on the therapist you see adn the skill set they have.  As a general rule, treatmetn techniques would include massage, joint mobilisation, joint manipulation (cracking), exercise prescription, accupuncture, post surgical rehabilitation on all jonits and areas of the body.  This list by no means is all inclusive……within all these fields there are different types of tequniques again.  The best thing to do is to call a practice and ask a practitioner about a specific problem and ask what techniques they might use with regard to your issue.  Good luck, jono

  • Sandra McFaul


    Do you suffer from chronic lower back pain or neck pain? Based in SYDNEY, Sandra is 1 of ONLY 15 Physiotherapists in Australia with ADVANCED … View Profile

    If you have any back or neck related problem I would suggest the McKenzie Method of Physiotherapy.  Why you may ask?

    Well, typically a trained McKenzie Physiotherapist aims to find:

    one exercise that will rapidly reduce your pain
    *  will see you on average 3 -4 times
    *  will show you how to stop the pain from coming back

    This method if known by the majority of physiotherapists both here in Australia and around the world but unless you have done the specific post-gradutate training then this method may not be applied correctly.

    There are 2 levels of training:
    1.  credentialled level - which means you know the basics of the McKenzie Method
    2.  diploma - the ADVANCED level.  In Australia there are currently around 15 physiotherapists with this level of training. (I am one who has advanced training.)

    The McKenzie Method was developed by New Zealand Physiotherapist Robin McKenzie back in the 1950's and it is now worldwide.  It is evidence based and if you problem does not respond a trained McKenzie Physiotherapist will be able to let you know withing 1 or 2 sessions.  You would then be referred for further tests or investigations.

    So if you are sufferring with chronic or recurrent pain, the McKenzie Method provided by a therapist who is at least credentialled is a must.  For a list of trained McKenzie therapists in Australia, click here.

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