Physical therapists and physiotherapists both aims to alleviate any discomfort a person has with regard to physical pain. This pain or discomfort may have been the result of an accident, due to a congenital disease, or a previous operation. The differences between the two are very minor, so much in fact that many countries and institution use them interchangeably. There is a large grey area when it comes to how similar or how different these two professions are.
- Origin and Use
The term “Physiotherapist” originated in the U.K., while “Physical Therapist” is the term commonly used in the United States. Some people use both terms interchangeably. In Singapore and most Asian countries, both terms convey any profession, which involves the treatment of musculoskeletal and neural disorders.
Physiotherapists lean toward hospital work – doing rounds and maintaining clinic schedules in hospitals. Most physical therapists, on the other hand, are geared toward private practices — maintaining their own clinics and engaging their patients on a more personal level. Still, a grey area exists as some physiotherapists, aside from doing scheduled rounds in hospitals, also maintain their own private clinics on the side.
- College Degree
Physiotherapists graduated from universities and actually earned degrees in physiotherapy. In the past, physical therapists would only need to take specializations and may take prerequisites in some medical sciences. Subjects taken in behavioural sciences and humanities were also considered as prerequisites for taking up physical therapy. At present, several universities now offer degrees in physical therapy, making them at par with physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists are more focused on using instruments in treating their patients, while university studies for physical therapy has been geared on using a more hands-on, personal approach. But this does not stop physical therapists from using various instruments (including electronic ones) in treating their patients. Physiotherapists, meanwhile, have recognized the use of manual therapy in treating patients. Most physiotherapists also engage their patients on a more personal level. Indeed, physiotherapists and physical therapists are both open to new ideas when it comes to treating their patients.
Both physiotherapists and physical therapists are experts in the field of human physical disorders. They both engage in similar professions, treatments, and methods. No wonder these terms are being used interchangeably. It does not matter who did what – what is important is for the disorder to be treated and for any injury to successfully heal.