Many people ask me what is the difference between “Physical Therapy” and “Physiotherapy.” In my opinion, nothing … I use the terms synonymously.
Some people however, claim that Physiotherapy indicates more of a hands-on manual therapy approach to rehabilitation, while Physical Therapy indicates a more exercise-based approach to rehabilitation.
This probably stems from the fact that outside of the United States, at least until the last 5 or so years, treatment of musculoskeletal conditions by physiotherapists was much more hands-on manual-therapy-based than in the United States.
Manual therapy training and its popularity has exploded in the United States lately and many more of our therapists are becoming certified and highly advanced in manual therapies. Since the term “physiotherapy” is used outside of the United States and “physical therapy” is used inside of the United States, some think there is an actual difference in what is provided when either of these terms is used.
The next thing I’m often asked is:
‘‘Why did you choose the name ‘Carter Physiotherapy’ for your practice rather than ‘Carter Physical Therapy’?”
The answer to that question is two-fold:
- Carter Physical Therapy was a name already taken by a PT practice in California.
- I have Australian citizenship and therefore, do feel somewhat of a tie to the term ‘physiotherapy’ as well.
So whether, a practice in the United States uses the term physical therapy or physiotherapy, they basically mean the same thing in my opinion.
The important thing for consumers to seek out has nothing to do with the term used for the clinic, but rather the training and treatment approach of the practice itself. I’m a huge proponent of making sure that wherever you decide to get treatment, that treatment involves hands-on manual therapy techniques along with the rehabilitation exercises common to most physical therapy clinics in the United States.
In most cases, you will get much more complete and much faster results by employing hands-on treatment along with exercises versus doing exercises and stretches alone.
For more information on our treatment philosophies and methods, click here.