What is a physiotherapist? What is the difference between a physical therapist and a physiotherapist?
The term physical therapist and physiotherapist are interchangeable. The term physical therapist originated in the United States, and physiotherapist has always been used in the UK. In Canada you'll find most people use the term physiotherapist.
Many people are familiar with the physiotherapists' roll in rehabilitation after a musculoskeletal injury or surgery. Others have been exposed to physiotherapy treatment of head injuries and strokes. You will also find physiotherapists treating cardiorespiratory conditions, teaching, and providing consulting services to industry and recreation.
Because physiotherapists are experts in movement and function, it is important that you know that your provider is a physical therapist is registered with the appropriate licensing body of your province. Although you may see signs offering "physical therapy", the services offered may not be performed by a regulated professional, therefore leaving you at risk of injury or worse.
A physiotherapist has received several years of post graduate University training through a faculty of medicine and completed the appropriate internships. They are regulated and must meet rigorous standards of practice to continue treating patients. Physiotherapists exercise independent professional judgment in unique, complex and uncertain situations. Their services are designed to achieve optimal health outcomes and utilize resources efficiently and safely. Physiotherapists act as members and leaders of health teams and have a responsibility to both respect the roles of team members and to initiate intervention in their own area of expertise. For more information on standards of practice and to find out if your physiotherapist is registered to practice in Ontario follow the link
Return to Great Lakes Physiotherapy Home Page