Physiotherapy vs Physical Therapy

Learn the Differences Between Physiotherapy & Physical Therapy


Patients who visit our physical therapy clinics frequently have questions and are perplexed by the terms physical therapy and physiotherapy. You might be surprised to hear that physical therapy and physiotherapy are the same thing! In truth, there is often no distinction between the two names, and they can be used interchangeably. They are interchangeable but with some very minor differences. Take a look below to learn the subtle difference and determine if you need physical therapy

What is physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is a physical treatment that helps people get back on their feet after suffering an injury or trauma. It’s a type of rehabilitation that focuses on the musculoskeletal system in order to help people with movement issues. Furthermore, physiotherapy can diagnose and treat injury, abnormal bodily function, and coordinating conditions, especially after a traumatic injury. Physiotherapy can assist patients in various ways as they recover from injuries and trauma. However, keep in mind that physiotherapy treats patients with a variety of physical modalities, including massage, heat, and exercise.

Physiotherapy covers a wide range of issues, including pediatric, geriatric, orthopedic, lung problems, disability, pelvic, mobility, fatigue, pain, and much more. Overall, the goal of physiotherapy is concerned with human function, movement, and maximizing physical ability. By identifying the quality of life and movement, physiotherapy can improve life and make movement easier. 

Physical techniques are used to promote, maintain, and repair physical, psychological, and social well-being while accounting for differences in health status. It is science-based, dedicated to expanding, applying, analyzing, and reviewing the evidence that supports and informs its practice and delivery. At its core is the use of clinical judgment and informed interpretation.

With a long history dating back thousands of years, physiotherapy is a necessary form of medical care dedicated to movement and pain management while enhancing mobility and overall improved function. It’s a comprehensive treatment with multiple tools designed to assist in recovery through various specialties. 

Is there a difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy?

Physical therapy and physiotherapy are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably. Most people, in other words, do not distinguish between the two modalities. Physiotherapy is the most often used phrase to define the practice in various nations worldwide. However, in the United States, physical therapy is the most commonly used term. In contrast, physiotherapy can represent either physical treatment or therapy that is similar to physical therapy. All of this is to imply that physical therapy and physiotherapy have very little in common.

There is a minor but discernible distinction between physical therapy and physiotherapy. According to some healthcare professionals, physiotherapy is a hands-on approach to rehabilitation therapy in which the physiotherapist uses manual techniques to assist the patient in their treatment. This may offer assistance with deepening stretches and other techniques. Some can also argue that physical therapy is primarily exercise-based therapy. Regardless of any potential disagreements on the subject, there are numerous advantages to physical therapy.

Physical therapy aims to ease pain and improve function for a better life, while physiotherapy treats disease, injury, and deformity using physical methods including massage, joint manipulation, and other techniques other than medicine and surgery. As you can see, the two are practically twins focusing on movement and repair, taking in the whole person for well-being with slightly different approaches. Physiotherapy has a slightly more hands-on approach, while physical therapy centers on an exercise-based approach. 

What do physiotherapists do?

Physiotherapists are experts in the field of movement science. They learn how to identify the source of an injury. A physiotherapist’s goal is to improve a person’s quality of life by using a variety of treatments to relieve pain and restore function or to decrease the impact of any dysfunction in the case of a permanent injury or disease.

A physiotherapist’s job is varied, and no two days are ever the same. A physiotherapist may be responsible for assessing a patient’s physical state in order to diagnose problems and develop a treatment plan, as well as retraining patients to walk or assisting others with crutches, walking frames, or wheelchairs. In physiotherapy, education is also very important. Physiotherapists devote a significant amount of effort to educating patients, their families, and the community about how to avoid injuries and live healthy lives.

A physiotherapist can also help people become in shape in the community by planning and implementing fitness programs. Physiotherapists treat a wide range of people throughout their careers, including children with cerebral palsy, premature babies, pregnant women, people undergoing rehabilitation, athletes, the elderly (to help them get fitter), and those who require assistance after heart disease, strokes, or major surgery.

What is the difference between a physiotherapist and a physical therapist?

Physiotherapy is a health profession dedicated to assisting people who are suffering from an accident, discomfort, or impairment in regaining their physical well-being. Physiotherapists can assess, diagnose, and treat problems and illnesses that affect people of all ages and social groups using knowledge from our wide scientific and clinical backgrounds. Physical therapy offers a holistic approach based on manual treatment of soft tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and more, including the spine. 

Like physical therapy, physical therapists aim to improve life by easing pain and improving function through an exercise focused on the musculoskeletal system. However, physiotherapists tend to be more hands-on, doing more of the work for their patients. Essentially, physiotherapists focus more on passive treatments, while physical therapists focus more on active treatments by making the patient do the work through exercise.

What does physiotherapy treat?

As physiotherapy focuses on musculoskeletal impairments, the practice can treat everything from back pain to joint issues. The list includes neck pain, disc-related conditions, shoulder problems, repetitive strains, headaches, tendonitis, bursitis, sprains, dislocations, arthritis, fractures, car accident injuries, weakness, fatigue, and much more including sports-related injuries

If you are suffering from an injury or illness that affects movement, a physiotherapist can help. They work with patients of all ages depending on the specialty of the therapist to facilitate recovery and improve physical independence. 

Who is physiotherapy for?

Anyone affected by musculoskeletal issues or those with movement problems can benefit from physiotherapy. Physiotherapists provide movement and exercise, manual treatment, education, and counseling to those who have been injured, ill, or disabled. In addition, they keep individuals of all ages healthy by assisting patients in managing pain and preventing disease.

Your doctor may have recommended you to a physiotherapist to help you get back on your feet if you’ve ever had an illness or injury that limited your ability to move or do daily duties. A physiotherapist, often known as a physical therapist, assists patients in managing pain, mobility, and motor function. Most people will work with a physiotherapist at some point in their lives. For example, after a vehicle accident, surgery, or to treat low back pain, you may have been referred to one.

Where do you find physiotherapy treatment?

Many medical facilities offer physiotherapy or physical therapy. From hospitals to wellness centers, and even urgent care facilities often offer physical therapy. Even some swimming pools offer therapy! Most insurance companies require a referral for physical therapy. Additionally, you can find physiotherapists at rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and more.

Your primary care doctor should be able to provide you with some fantastic options for a physiotherapist. First, do some research and find a specialist in your area. Find a physiotherapist that specializes in your issue, and then do your research on the company and therapist. Talk to your doctor for a list of options and ensure to find out which options accept your insurance. 

Additionally, Portland Wellness Care can help with your physiotherapy needs. Our team has years of experience treating a wide range of injuries from head to toe. To relieve pain and restore mobility and function, we use several therapies, including chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, physiotherapy, laser therapy, and sports therapy. We treat the full person at PWC, not just the symptoms, and we give patients with individualized care.

Why Choose Portland Wellness Care for physiotherapy treatment?

Portland Wellness Care collaborates with a number of insurance companies in order to serve a larger number of people. We also use various integrated medical resources to give you the care your body requires, combining western and eastern medical services. We offer same-day and walk-in appointments with the greatest professionals for speedy relief from sprains.

Get a customized physiotherapy treatment plan from a team of therapists ready to help you get back on your feet. With various extra pain management and therapies, we can help you find the right treatments to help you feel better and recover from injuries. Call Portland Wellness Care right now to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists to start your recovery.


While physiotherapy has a slightly more hands-on approach and physical therapy focuses on exercise-based treatment, both types of therapy are interchangeable. You may benefit from the trained services of a physical therapist or physiotherapist if you have been injured, had surgery, or are ill and are unable to move or function normally owing to discomfort, loss of range of motion, or decreased strength. Portland Wellness Care has a staff dedicated to helping people recover through therapy. Call today and schedule an appointment today and start moving better.


Portland Wellness Care offers free consultations for patients who have questions, such as: What is the best treatment plan for me? What services will help me most? What the out-of-pocket costs might I incurred? How long will my treatment plan last?
or call us today at (971) 379-2455
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