A friend brought up a very good point to me the other day. She said that up until very recently, she had no idea what a Physio actually did, so she suggested I write a post about it…and here it is.
I keep using the word musculoskeletal because this is the type of Physio I am. There are so many different types of Physios, but I’ll just talk about what I do to keep this short….er.
Musculoskeletal refers to muscles and skeletons. A Physio is someone who has studied in a HUGE amount of depth, the anatomy of the human body, and everything that can go wrong with it, in terms of muscles, bones, joints, connective tissue (that sinewy stuff around a piece of chicken or steak), tendons, the spine, cartilage and nerves.
When you are in pain, there are many reasons why this could be, and a good Physio will assess you, figure out what structure is causing you pain and hopefully be able to treat it to eliminate or reduce your pain. If they can’t, they should refer you to where you need to go- for a scan, to a doctor, rheumatologist, etc etc.
Their treatment will look very different depending on what is wrong, but commonly involves mobilisation of stiff joints, release of overactive (tight) muscles, taping to provide support, perhaps dry needling, assessment of muscles that aren’t working the way they should along with alignment of joints and providing exercises to correct this. There are so so many other techniques that Physios use, but these are just a few.
A good Physio will assess, treat, reassess and educate you so you know what is going on with your body.
Some Physios have special interests in other areas, or can complete additional training to become titled specialists in a certain field. I have a special interest in Women’s Health as well as Musculoskeletal Physio and also use Real Time Ultrasound to assess and rehab pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles…but more on this another time
You do not need a doctors referral to see a Private Practice Physio- you can just call and make an appointment. If you have it on your Private Health Cover, all or a portion of your treatment may be covered and you would only need to pay the ‘gap’- the difference between the Physios fee and what your insurance pays.