If you’re confused about the difference in physiotherapy vs physical therapy, you’re not alone. While many believe they are identical, that’s not completely the case. 

Many patients don’t understand the difference between physiotherapy vs physical therapy. These patients miss out on some of the key differences that could make a difference in their medical treatment.

In this article, we highlight the main differences between these two therapies. Continue reading to find out which option is best for you.

What is Physiotherapy vs Physical Therapy

Both therapies have to do with the science behind movement. Both attempt to find the root cause of an injury.

The difference between physiotherapy vs physical therapy is a common question. Many are surprised to learn they are the same in many aspects. In fact, some countries use the terms interchangeably. 

However, there are some minor differences between the two to consider. These differences have to do with treatment focus and treatment types. Determining the right treatment for you depends on what kind of injuries you have. 

Treatment Focus

Physiotherapy is mainly used in relation to hospital work. This means it refers to therapy administered post-operatively or in time-sensitive situations.

In contrast, physical therapy involves less urgent situations. This includes general aches, pains, and minor injuries.

Treatment Types

Another key difference in physiotherapy vs physical therapy is treatment type. Some argue that physiotherapy is focused on manual treatments. In contrast, physical therapy is more coordination- and strength-focused. Both focus on the treatment and prevention of injuries. 

Physiotherapy Treatments

Treatments common in physiotherapy include a hands-on approach. This means treatments such as stretching, joint movement, and soft tissue massage. However, it can also include treatments such as shockwave therapy

Shockwave therapy is increasing in popularity among physiotherapists. It uses low energy to trigger the body’s healing process. It’s used to treat conditions involving muscles and tissue, such as those with connective tissues. 

Physical Therapy Treatments

Physical therapy treatments involve more exercise for chronic conditions. Physical therapy patients can expect treatments such as strength training and balancing exercises

Another common treatment is temperature therapy after these exercises. Cold temperatures treat inflammation and muscle pain. Your therapist may use a cold pack or ice in this case.

Cold therapy is great for conditions such as tendonitis, strains, or recent injuries. It’s important to note that ice should never be put directly on the skin. 

Hot temperatures help with muscle pain and are great for chronic issues. This treatment uses a hot pack or warm water. Heat is commonly used in strained or sprained muscles as well as relieving pain or spasms. 

Physiotherapy vs Physical Therapy: Choosing the Right One

As we said, there is very little difference between physiotherapy vs physical therapy. In many countries, the terms are interchangeable. However, consider what type of injury you suffer from and what kind of treatment you think you need.

Identifying these issues will help you determine whether you should seek out physical therapy or physiotherapy. Whichever you choose, their focus is to get you feeling better.

If you are interested in physiotherapy and shockwave therapy, contact us today to learn more!