While physiotherapists are fantastic professionals who drastically improve the quality of life for millions of Australians, most people still aren't completely sure about what a physio can and cannot do. Are they doctors? Can they order blood work? Do they work all over the body or just in specific parts? These are common questions that often arise, and if you aren't familiar with the industry, it is easy to see why. Here is a definitive guide as to what a physio can and cannot do.
What A Physio Can Do
A physio works to ensure all aspects of your life are aimed at providing a sustainable and comfortable standard of living for you. Their information and treatments are scientifically based, and they have must have a degree to back that up. In person, they often provide targetted muscle and skeletal manipulation (referred to commonly as a massage, but this is not quite the correct terminology) to relieve pain from injuries that occur due to age or accidents. They can also help with advice on your diet, exercise routine, lifestyle choices and anything that they feel might make your life better (within reason of course).
What A Physio Cannot Do
While physios have a degree, they are not doctors, and they cannot prescribe medication or order surgery for you. Physios are often recommended by doctors for patients who need help managing injuries and muscle problems, but they are not doctors. Their scope is limited to the areas described above and so they do not deal with specialised treatment of internal problems, such as problems with the kidneys, heart, liver, etc. If they can aid these systems through muscle and skeletal manipulation (and you might be surprised at how common this is), then they will, but they are not specialists in those areas.
How Do I Know When To See A Physio?
If you have an immediate health care issue that is painful, then you should always go either to your local GP or straight to the hospital. A physio provides continuous treatment options that help you gradually improve your life, not an immediate fix. If you are not in serious pain but rather a constant, numbing pain, then you can visit a physio to help you overcome it. If you are confused about what your options are, then visit your GP. They will be able to better diagnose your condition and suggest whether or not a physio is the best course of action for you.