If you’ve ever suffered from chronic back or neck pain, you’d understand the importance of physiotherapists in our society.

Living with constant pain can be debilitating. But physiotherapists don’t only specialise in injury treatment. They also help those with disability and illness to live a more mobile and comfortable life.

So, what is physiotherapy treatment and what does it entail? Find out more in this blog.

When Is A Good Time To See A Physiotherapist?

If you are suffering from an injury or chronic pain that affects your mood, function, and concentration, it’s a good time to see a physiotherapist.

If you’ve had major surgery like a hip replacement, knee replacement, or suffered a stroke, you will be referred to a physiotherapist.

Remember that every physiotherapy session is unique to each patient. This means each session will be tailored to your needs and recovery progress.

Often physiotherapy recovery from an injury or illness is slow. Patience, commitment, and patient participation in recovery are key.

What Is Physiotherapy Treatment And What Do Physios Do?

Physiotherapy is a professional treatment. It encourages and facilitates recovery from injury, illness, or disability. The treatment enables millions of people across the world to remain at work.

It also allows them to be physically independent for as long as possible.

Physiotherapy is science-based but also takes a ”’whole person”, or holistic approach to health. This means that physio treatment is paired alongside living a healthy lifestyle. Essentially, the two go hand-in-hand.

At the core of physiotherapy is the patient’s own involvement in their care and recovery. Physiotherapy is inclusive of education, creating awareness, and participation in treatment.

Almost anyone, at any age, can benefit from physiotherapy, no matter what stage of life they’re in. For example, a senior with debilitating back pain can benefit from physiotherapy. Just as a sportsman with a sudden injury or a woman preparing for childbirth.

Common Treatment Areas

Physiotherapists focus on both prevention and rehabilitation. Some of the most common treatment areas include:

  • Back and neck pain caused by muscular or skeletal issues
  • Issues in the bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles of the body, caused by illness or injury
  • The after-effects of limb or extremity amputation
  • Issues with the lungs, often caused by asthma
  • Pelvic issues, including bowel, bladder, and pelvic floor problems
  • Loss of mobility caused by disease, trauma, or injury
  • Loss of mobility or disability caused by heart disease
  • Sports injury rehabilitation

Physiotherapists also deal with fatigue, stiffness, swelling, and muscle atrophy in the elderly. As well as cancer patients and those in palliative care.

Different Types Of Physiotherapy


Physiotherapists study and practice manual physiotherapy techniques for many years. The practice of physiotherapy covers these key areas:

  • Joint manipulation
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilisation (PIM)
  • Physiotherapy massage
  • Soft tissue techniques
  • Minimal Energy Techniques (METs)

Physiotherapist skills also overlap into other fields of practice. Some of these include remedial massage therapy, osteopathic, kinesiology, and occupational therapy.

There are some of the most common types of treatments you can expect, depending on your condition:

  1. Physiotherapy Taping

Your physiotherapist will use strapping and taping techniques to offer pain relief and support from an injury. They use specific physiotherapy tape that also helps to prevent further injury.

This technique is broken into two main categories: supportive strapping and kinesiology taping.

  1. Dry Needling Or Acupuncture

Many physiotherapists choose to train a little further and acquire a qualification in the technique of dry needling or acupuncture.

These two practices offer relief from muscle pain and tension and support muscle recovery.

  1. Manual Physiotherapy Exercises

Physios are trained in manual therapy to strengthen and improve muscle function.

These physical exercises use evidence-based protocols. They are designed to deliver effective results in solving or preventing pain and injury. In short, your physio is well-versed in prescribing the best types of exercises in the right dose, depending on your condition.

Some of these physical therapy exercises include:

  • Manual muscle stretching
  • Core strengthening exercises for back pain
  • Neuro-dynamics
  • Balance exercises
  • Real-Time Ultrasound Physiotherapy
  • Swiss Ball exercises
  • Proprioception exercises

Your physio may also recommend other practices including Pilates, yoga, and exercise physiology. This is so that you can find the best results in your recovery.

  1. Biomechanical Analysis

All trained and certified physiotherapists are highly-skilled health professionals. They have the knowledge to assess and diagnose certain conditions, and deficits that need correcting.

Your physio will do a thorough assessment of your condition to detect and avoid musculoskeletal injuries. They are also well-versed in postural issues and the best treatment to avoid repeat injuries due to poor posture.

Your biomechanical analysis usually involves gait analysis, movement analysis, and more.

  1. Workplace Physiotherapy

This is related to workplace ergonomics and respective strain injuries in the workplace. A physiotherapist can advise on the best workstation posture and setup for your body and any pre-existing conditions.

This includes advice on lifting techniques, postural techniques, education programs, and more.

Looking For A Results-Driven Physiotherapist?

If you’ve found yourself wondering ”what is physiotherapy treatment?” and how can it benefit you, we hope this blog gives you a better idea of what to expect.

Looking for an experienced, results-driven physiotherapist in Portugal? Be sure to get in touch with Berry Vrijaldenhoven at The International Health Centre.


Derived from ancient Greek ‘osteo’ meaning ‘bone’ and ‘path’ meaning ‘disease of’

In reality most Osteopaths treat musculoskeletal issues including; back pain, neck pain, and joint problems. Osteopaths are healthcare professionals that utilise manual and physical therapy to help with painful complaints or to help improve the function of your body. The training to become an Osteopath usually takes a minimum of 4 years. This assures that patients are in very safe and skilful hands.

What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathic is a a system of diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. It works with the structure and function of the body, and is based on the principle that the well-being of an individual depends on the skeleton, muscles, ligaments and connective tissues functioning smoothly together/

Simply put, this means that your body is capable of self-healing (in many cases) and that optimal healing takes place in the optimal environment. Osteopaths  look at how you adapt to your complaint or how it arose in the first place and work with you and your body to facilitate optimal healing and get you on the road to a swift recovery. This principle is adopted in many therapies including modern medicine – a fracture is set in a cast to provide you with the stability needed to allow bone repair and antibiotics are prescribed to fight off bacterial infection so that you can recover. Osteopaths help facilitate healing by improving motion and allowing your body to compensate during recovery.

What Can Osteopathy Help With?

Osteopaths work to facilitate the body’s own ability to heal, working with the body’s structure and function to provide your body with the optimal healing environment. With this principle in mind, they could potentially treat many conditions. However, the efficacy of this may be questionable, and it’s important to know their limitations in practice. This is done by reviewing scientific research relevant to its practice and based treatments on best research and practice. This is referred to as evidence based or evidence informed medicine, and is relevant to all fields of medicine.

There is supporting evidence that Osteopaths can provide effective treatment for:

  • generalised aches and pains
  • joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core osteoarthritis treatments and exercise
  • arthritic pain
  • general, acute & chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accident)
  • uncomplicated mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury i.e., whiplash)
  • headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic) / migraine prevention
  • frozen shoulder/ shoulder and elbow pain/ tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences
  • circulatory problems
  • cramp
  • digestion problems
  • joint pains
  • sciatica
  • muscle spasms
  • neuralgia
  • fibromyalgia
  • inability to relax
  • rheumatic pain
  • minor sports injuries and tensions


The story Of Achilles

Most people are familiar with Achilles, the famous Greek warrior who died after he was shot by an arrow in his tendon, now called the Achilles tendon.

The vulnerability of the Achilles tendon in sports is probably one of the most debilitating injuries that end a lot of sport careers.
If you look at an anatomy chart you will see what a tremendous strength this tendon must have to withstand everyday exertion.

There are numerous reasons why an Achilles tendon gets into trouble. For example:

  1. Repetitive overexertion
  2. Wrong foot position
  3. Acute (partial) rupture
  • Overexertion happens a lot when people start a sport without knowledge or built-up (running, gym). Repetitive straining damages the matrix and texture of the tendon, and results in a thickened and less dense quality of the Achilles (tendinopathy). This can be made visible by Ultrasound scanning (echography). Treatment has to contain two things: repair by Shockwave treatment and start of a 12 week program of ‘eccentric loading’. This program will create new, healthy tissue. After 12 weeks one can return to a gradual built-up in intensity to return to normal activity (image 1).
  • Wrong positioning of the foot leads to several problems: falling of the medial arch which will cause fasciitis plantaris or heel spur, but also a strain of the (medial) side of the Achilles. A reactive tendinopathy shows itself by acute swelling of the sheath (not the tendon!). Treatment is rather simple: correction of the foot position (insole) and relative resting + ice. In most cases no further treatment is necessary (image 2).
  • A (partial) rupture of the Achilles is dramatic in most cases: an acute tear of the tendon leads to a long-term treatment program. A complete tear needs surgery straight away. If not, the tendon will retract and connecting the ends will be quite impossible. A partial tear can be treated conservatively. Six weeks cast or boot in a plantar position and afterwards gradually stretching of the tendon. In this case no certainty that the tendon comes back to normal levels though… (image 3).
 When there is doubt of the severity of the injury, always make an Ultrasound scan!

Treatment without knowledge can lead to dramatic mistakes of strategy.
And once again: NO cortisones. It will lead to weakening of tissue and can induce a rupture.
And finally: a certain group of antibiotics (fluorchinolones) can cause sudden ruptures of large tendons (i.e. biceps and Achilles).

Be safe: when you have (chronic) Achilles problems, do not experiment but see a qualified therapist to determine the origin of your trouble.