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A Physiotherapist is a therapist who helps patients recover from injury and illness. Physiotherapy is a profession which is very popular in the UK, Europe and Australia.

What is a Physiotherapist?

  • A physiotherapist is a health care professional who specialises in maximising human movement, function and potential.
  • A physiotherapist may work with someone after injury, accident or surgery, or may work to prevent injury for instance with sporting clubs or in the workplace.
  • Physiotherapists work in a wide variety of settings: hospital; private clinics; hospices; nursing homes; a patients own home; the workplace; sports clubs and gyms.
  • Physiotherapists are the British equivalent of a Physical Therapist

What training does a Physiotherapist have?

  • In July 2005 a law was passed in the United Kingdom protecting the title “physiotherapist” and “physical therapist” restricting its use in the UK to persons who are eligible to register as a physiotherapist with the Health Professions Council.
  • In order to receive a certificate to practice and register with the Health professions council Physiotherapists study for three years to gain a BSc in Physiotherapy. Some universities now also offer an accelerated two year course to students who hold a previous degree in a relevant subject.
  • Once registered with the Health professions council Physiotherapists must maintain a portfolio documenting their continuous professional development, undertaking extra courses and study.
  • You can check whether your therapist is registered with the HPC on their web site.

How do I find a Physiotherapist?

  • Physiotherapy is available on the NHS. Your family doctor can refer you to physiotherapy.Some areas operate an open access system so you can refer yourself for physiotherapy assessment.
  • If seeking a private physiotherapist look for the letters HPC after their name this indicates that the physiotherapist is registered with the health professions council. All physiotherapists working for the NHS are registered with the health professions council.
  • Additionally physiotherapists may have the letters MCSP after their name, this indicates that they are a Member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy,

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists maintains a register of members who offer private treatment.

What should I expect if I consult a Physiotherapist?
First of all the physio will undertake a comprehensive assessment of your problem. This will include asking you a lot of detailed questions about the problem such as how it started, what activities make it better or worse, as well as more general questions about your general health and work, hobbies and sporting activities.
Treatment options depend on the problem that you are having but may include exercises to stretch tight structures, strengthen weak ones, improve balance, or change the way you move; hands on mobilization to move joints; or electrotherapy which is the use of machines such as ultrasound or TENS

Contributed by Jane Hodgson of Physiobench.

If you are a physiotherapist and would like to add to or amend any of the information above then please get in touch with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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