A physiotherapist is someone who practices physiotherapy.
Who is a physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist assesses and treats patients affected by an injury, disability or health condition. They help patients to improve movement and pain.
Some physiotherapists are more specialised and have more training in certain areas. These areas include:
- hand therapy
- manual therapy
- mental health
- occupational health
- older adults
- pelvic, women’s and men’s health
- sports and exercise.
What can a physiotherapist help with?
A physiotherapist can help with the following:
- Planning and providing an exercise programme for you to increase strength and movement.
- Massaging or manipulating areas of your body to relieve pain and stiffness.
- Providing information and advice on general lifestyle, body movement and postures to prevent injuries.
- Providing services such as acupuncture to improve pain.
- Providing mobility aids or devices such as crutches to help you move around.
Some medical conditions that can improve with physiotherapy include:
- strains and sprains
- sports injuries
- back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain
- fractures or broken bones
- rehabilitation after a heart attack
- recovery after surgery
- lungs and breathing problems such as COPD or cystic fibrosis
- neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, stroke or multiple sclerosis
- developmental delays in children.
Where does a physiotherapist work?
A physiotherapist can work in different places. These include:
- GP clinics
- private physiotherapy clinics
- community health centres
- aged care facilities
- sports facilities such as clubs
You do not need a doctor's referral to see a physiotherapist. However, it is always a good idea to talk to your GP or doctor to find out whether you need to see a physiotherapist. Find a physiotherapist here.
What training does a physiotherapist have?
A physiotherapist has to do 4 years of training and be registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand to work in New Zealand. Find out about different training options to become a physiotherapist on the Careers NZ website.