There are a number of differences between Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists here in Ireland.
Physical Therapists all work in private practice. Many are affiliated with sports teams, especially the GAA. We specialise from day one on assessing and treating musculo-skeletal problems. That is, muscle aches, pains, strains, injuries and chronic movement issues such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain to name a few.
Physiotherapy mostly focuses primarily on hospital work, postoperative care for example, whereas Physical Therapy is predominantly the treatment of non threatening injuries.
Both however are degree courses and have a common goal, to make you better.
Physical Therapy concentrates on the use of hands-on techniques predominantly with some therapists using dry needling and electrical modalities to accelerate healing. You may be given exercises, functional training to help your recovery, your Physical Therapist will monitor your progress accordingly.
Physiotherapy mostly incorporates electrical modalities such as interferential, ultrasound, tens, laser, dry needles and other non-manual treatments. They may use hands on therapy too. They will also prescribe corrective exercises and monitor your progress.
Physical Therapists are trained with a view to a longer client consultation, a detailed case history is taken on your first appointment. The approach to treatment is generally more holistic, which by virtue of its hands-on nature is more client-centred. As its a private practice your treatment will generally be 45mins-60 mins
Physiotherapists due to the nature of hospital waiting lists, time pressures cannot always provide such lengthy treatments. Private practice would however provided longer treatments.
Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy are accepted by most health insurance companies, please check your personal policy for your entitlements.
Whether you choose Physical Therapy or Physiotherapy is really a personal choice. I would always say to my clients, it is whatever works best for you.
When deciding which therapist to attend look/ ask for the following.
- Ask a friend to recommend someone, word of mouth is generally the best way to find a therapist
- Are they local to you
- Are they registered with their governing body. (I.A.P.T- Irish Association of Physical Therapists)
- Can give you appointment times to suit you.
- Will issue you receipts for your Private Health Insurance
- If you don’t like or trust them, don’t go back.
Make sure you get the best treatment, from the best Therapist you can find. Its your body after all, you wouldn’t give your car to an untrained mechanic so don’t compromise your most valuable asset either!
Further reading: What’s the difference between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy
If you would like to contact me to discuss the nature of your ailment, injury, please feel free to contact me. Either fill out the contact sheet below, ring me 0866047945 or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can make an appointment that suits you and get you on the road to recovery.
About the Author:
Sinéad Kennedy is a Physical Therapist, Yoga Siromani and Pilates Instructor, based in South County Dublin. She treats and teaches people from all walks of life, including many athletes, especially cyclists, runners & golfers. Recently featured in the Irish Independant, FIT Magazine, her Yoga 4 Cyclists class has gained notoriety.
A keen cyclist and proud member of Orwell Wheelers she has completed numerous cycling events including La Marmotte Sportive. Sinéad has also completed two Dublin City Marathons, numerous Adventure Races and Half Marathons.
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Thanks for pointing out that both physiotherapy and physical therapy are covered by most health insurance plans. I recently had surgery and am interested in trying physiotherapy to help with my recovery. I wasn’t sure if physiotherapy was covered by health insurance, so I’m happy to hear it should be!
check with your insurance company before you start your treatment so you know what your entitled too.
Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article.
how/where you did you study to become a physical therapist in Ireland? I’m interested in it as a career but can’t find any information on where to study it
I’m glad you mentioned that physiotherapy will usually include the assignment of corrective exercises for the patient to do at home. My husband has talked about finding a local physio clinic to visit because he’s noticed a decrease in his mobility and can no longer bend over easily. Thanks for giving me an idea of what his treatment will include so I can do my part by making sure his exercises get done.