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Understanding the Basics of Physiotherapy

Understanding the Basics of Physiotherapy

Key points

  • Physiotherapy focuses on improving physical function and reducing pain through non-invasive techniques such as exercises and manual therapy.

  • Active+ physiotherapists assess and treat various physical issues with tailored exercise programs and manual therapy interventions.

  • Physiotherapy helps in managing pain, restoring joint mobility, strengthening muscles, and enhancing overall function.

  • Benefits of physiotherapy include pain management, improved mobility and function, injury prevention, enhanced sports performance, improved posture, and management of chronic conditions.

  • Physiotherapy can address a wide array of conditions, including musculoskeletal disorders, neurological conditions, cardiovascular and respiratory disorders, and post-surgical rehabilitation.

  • Techniques used in physiotherapy include personalised exercise programs, manual therapy, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, soft tissue mobilisation, pain management strategies, and cryotherapy.

  • During a physiotherapy session, patients can expect an initial assessment, a personalised treatment plan, the use of various treatment modalities, education on the condition and self-management techniques, and progress monitoring.

  • Physiotherapy services offer comprehensive care for physical issues, promoting recovery, rehabilitation, and overall well-being.

What is physiotherapy? 

Physiotherapy focuses on optimising physical function and well-being, employing therapeutic techniques such as exercises, manual therapy, and patient education, providing comprehensive care for individuals with various physical issues.

Physiotherapy offers a non-invasive approach to improving physical function and reducing pain. Active+ physiotherapists assess and treat various physical issues through tailored exercises, manual therapy, and other techniques, aiming to manage pain, restore joint mobility, strengthen muscles, and enhance overall function. 

How physiotherapy helps the recovery process 

Physiotherapy facilitates recovery by employing various techniques to address physical limitations and promote healing. Treatment aims to restore joint mobility, enhance muscle strength, and improve overall functional abilities through customised exercise programs, manual therapy interventions, and specialised modalities, along with providing education on proper body mechanics and injury prevention strategies. 

The benefits of physiotherapy 

Physiotherapy treatment offers numerous benefits for individuals of all ages and health conditions. 

Pain management and rehabilitation 

Physiotherapy provides pain relief and aids in rehabilitation and recovery. It utilises techniques like manual therapy, exercises and education to alleviate pain and restore mobility, strength, and flexibility, facilitating recovery after injuries, surgeries, or illnesses. 

Improved mobility and function 

Physiotherapy treatment enhances joint range of motion, muscle flexibility, and overall mobility. Therapists use specific exercises, stretches, and mobilisation techniques to increase joint flexibility, reduce stiffness, and improve overall movement. 

Improved strength and stability 

Strength training plays a significant role in rebuilding and reinforcing muscles that might have weakened due to various factors like injury, surgery, or extended periods of inactivity. Physiotherapists can design personalised strength training programs targeting specific weaknesses and imbalances, thereby facilitating a swifter and more efficient recovery.

Additionally, strength training serves as a valuable preventive measure against injuries. By strengthening muscles and joints, it enhances stability, thus lowering the likelihood of future injuries. This is particularly advantageous for athletes and individuals involved in physically demanding tasks.

Injury prevention 

Physiotherapists assess movement patterns, identify potential risk factors, and develop customised exercise programs to prevent injuries. They can also provide advice on proper body mechanics, posture correction, and ergonomics to minimise the risk of injuries in the workplace or during physical activities. 

Enhanced sports performance 

Athletes often seek physiotherapy treatment to optimise their performance and prevent sports-related injuries. Physiotherapists develop tailored training programs, address biomechanical issues, provide sports-specific conditioning, and assist in rehabilitating sports injuries. 

Improved posture and body mechanics 

Physiotherapy treatment improves posture and body mechanics. Targeted exercises, education, and corrective techniques help individuals develop improvedalignment spinal stability, and body awareness.   

Management of chronic conditions 

Physiotherapy can help individuals manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and respiratory disorders. Through exercises, pain management techniques, and education, physiotherapists assist patients in improving their quality of life and managing symptoms effectively.

Pre- and post-natal care

Physiotherapy treatment can be valuable during pregnancy and after childbirth. It addresses musculoskeletal discomfort, provides exercises for pelvic floor strengthening, and assists in restoring core stability and overall physical well-being.  

Age-related mobility and function 

Physiotherapy improves age-related mobility and function. Customised exercise programs, balance training, and mobility exercises help older adults maintain or regain their independence, strength, and flexibility.  

Enhancing enhancing motor skills and coordination in children 

Paediatric physiotherapy offers a number of benefits for children, including improving motor skills, aiding in pain management, and promoting overall development. With customised treatment plans, early intervention, and a focus on specific conditions like cerebral palsy or developmental delays, paediatric physiotherapy plays a crucial role in enhancing young patients' well-being and quality of life.

Improved mental well-being

Physiotherapy treatment can have positive effects on mental and emotional well-being. Physical recovery, pain reduction, and regaining independence can boost confidence, improve mood, and enhance overall psychological well-being.  

Conditions treated by physiotherapy 

Physiotherapy is capable of addressing a wide array of injuries and ailments. 

Management of musculoskeletal disorders 

Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in treating musculoskeletal conditions, encompassing disorders affecting muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues. Therapeutic interventions such as manual therapy, targeted exercises, joint mobilisation, and patient education are employed to alleviate symptoms and enhance functional outcomes. 

Addressing neurological conditions 

Physiotherapy is instrumental in managing neurological disorders affecting the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. It focuses on improving motor function, balance, coordination, and overall mobility through interventions such as exercises, gait training, and neuromuscular re-education.  

Treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory disorders 

Physiotherapy interventions are effective in treating cardiovascular and respiratory disorders by implementing tailored exercise programs to enhance cardiovascular fitness, respiratory function, and breathing techniques. Additionally, chest physiotherapy aids in mucus clearance and respiratory rehabilitation post-cardiac or respiratory conditions, facilitating recovery and improving functional abilities.  

Rehabilitation following surgical procedures 

Post-surgical rehabilitation is a significant aspect of physiotherapy, involving the development of personalised treatment plans to restore mobility, strength, and function post-operation. Techniques including exercises, manual therapy, and modalities are utilised to manage pain, enhance range of motion, expedite healing, and ensure a safe and efficient recovery process.  

Click here to read more about common conditions that can be treated by physiotherapy.  

Physiotherapy techniques and approaches

Personalised exercise programmes 

Personalised exercise programmes are fundamental in physiotherapy, tailored to individual needs, objectives, and conditions following thorough assessments. Physiotherapists formulate these plans with an aim to enhance strength, flexibility, mobility, and functional abilities, thereby facilitating recovery, rehabilitation, and overall physical well-being.  

Manual therapy 

Manual therapy is a cornerstone of physiotherapy treatment, involving skilled manipulation of joints and soft tissues to alleviate pain and improve physical function. Techniques such as joint mobilisation, soft tissue mobilisation, massage, and manipulation are employed to enhance joint mobility, reduce muscle tension, promote tissue healing, and optimise physical function. 


Hydrotherapy, or aqua therapy, leverages water's buoyancy and resistance properties to aid in rehabilitation. By performing exercises such as walking or resistance training in water, individuals benefit from a low-impact environment that reduces joint stress while improving strength, cardiovascular fitness, and overall mobility. 


Electrotherapy encompasses various techniques involving the application of electrical stimulation to manage pain, promote tissue healing, and enhance muscle function. Modalities like TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), and electrical muscle stimulation are utilised to target specific areas, providing pain relief, reducing inflammation, and aiding in rehabilitation.  

Acupuncture and dry needling 

Acupuncture and dry needling are therapeutic techniques incorporated into physiotherapy treatment. Acupuncture stimulates nerves by inserting thin needles at specific points, promoting pain relief, while dry needling targets muscle trigger points to alleviate pain and tension, enhancing muscle function and overall well-being. 

Chiropractic therapy 

Chiropractic therapy focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those involving the spine. Manual techniques such as spinal adjustments and manipulations are employed to alleviate pain, improve joint function, and enhance physical well-being, often complemented by exercise and lifestyle modifications.  

Soft tissue mobilisation 

Soft tissue mobilisation involves applying controlled pressure, stretching, or kneading to muscles, tendons, ligaments, or fascia to reduce tension, improve flexibility, break up scar tissue, enhance blood flow, and promote tissue healing, addressing various musculoskeletal conditions.  

Pain management strategies 

Physiotherapy employs a range of pain management techniques, including acupuncture, manual therapy, exercises, electrotherapy, temperature therapy, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and patient education. These approaches aim to relieve pain, facilitate healing, and enhance function, tailored to individual needs for effective pain management. 


Cryotherapy utilises cold temperatures to promote healing and reduce pain, offering benefits such as reduced inflammation, decreased muscle soreness, and improved recovery following exercise or injury, administered through ice packs, baths, or specialised chambers. 

What to expect during a physiotherapy session  

  • Initial assessmentthe physiotherapist will evaluate your medical history, symptoms, and goals through discussions and physical tests.  
  • Treatment planbased on the assessment, a personalised treatment plan will be created to address your needs and goals. 
  • Treatment modalitiesthe therapist may use equipment like TENS or electrical stimulation to aid in your treatment.  
  • Educationyou'll receive guidance on your condition, proper body mechanics, and self-management techniques, including home exercises.  
  • Progress monitoring – the therapist will track your progress, discuss follow-up sessions, and make adjustments as needed. 


Physiotherapy services offer comprehensive care to address physical issues, promoting recovery, rehabilitation, and overall well-being. Consider seeking physiotherapy treatment for personalised care and long-term solutions to optimise health and function. 

Need a physiotherapist?

Experiencing discomfort or mobility issues? Active+ can help! Our skilled physiotherapists offer personalised care for all needs. Click here to find your nearest physiotherapist.

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