A Comprehensive Guide to the Conditions Treated by Physiotherapists

Introduction to Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a healthcare profession that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various physical conditions affecting the musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems. But what kind of conditions do physiotherapists treat? According to Luke Peterson, Directory & Senior Physiotherapist at Eastside Physiotherapy and Co, physiotherpists can help manage and alleviate a wide range of conditions.

Musculoskeletal Conditions

Sprains and Strains

Sprains and strains are common injuries that affect ligaments and muscles, respectively. Physiotherapists can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling while also working on improving range of motion, flexibility, and strength.


Arthritis is an umbrella term for various conditions that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Physiotherapists can help manage the symptoms of arthritis, improve joint mobility and function, and maintain overall strength and flexibility.

Postural Problems

Poor posture can lead to chronic pain and discomfort in various parts of the body. Physiotherapists can assess and correct postural imbalances, provide exercises to strengthen weak muscles, and educate patients on how to maintain proper posture in daily life.

Neurological Conditions


Stroke survivors often experience physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. Physiotherapists can help improve balance, coordination, strength, and mobility, as well as facilitate the recovery of essential daily living skills.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement and coordination. Physiotherapy can help manage symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, and poor balance by providing targeted exercises and strategies to maintain function and mobility.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that damages the protective covering of nerve fibers. Physiotherapists can help manage symptoms, improve mobility, and maintain overall function and quality of life for individuals with MS.

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Cardiovascular Conditions

Heart Attack Rehabilitation

Following a heart attack, physiotherapists play a crucial role in cardiac rehabilitation, helping patients regain strength, endurance, and overall cardiovascular fitness while reducing the risk of future heart problems.

H3: Chronic Heart Failure

Physiotherapy can help individuals with chronic heart failure by providing tailored exercise programmes, breathing techniques, and strategies to manage fatigue, ultimately improving their overall quality of life.

Respiratory Conditions


Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes difficulty in breathing. Physiotherapists can help individuals with asthma to manage their symptoms through breathing exercises, airway clearance techniques, and advice on proper inhaler use.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. Physiotherapy can assist patients in managing their symptoms by teaching airway clearance techniques, providing tailored exercise programmes, and offering education on self-management strategies.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Physiotherapists can help manage respiratory symptoms by teaching airway clearance techniques, providing exercise programmes, and assisting with nutritional management.

Paediatric Conditions

Physiotherapists can treat a range of paediatric conditions, including developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and neuromuscular disorders. They focus on improving motor skills, balance, coordination, and strength, as well as supporting the child’s overall growth and development.

Women’s Health and Pregnancy-related Conditions

Physiotherapy plays a vital role in managing women’s health issues, such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, and pregnancy-related musculoskeletal conditions like lower back pain and pelvic girdle pain.

Sports Injuries

Sports injuries, such as fractures, dislocations, and tendon injuries, can be effectively managed and treated by physiotherapists. They can help athletes recover from injuries, prevent future injuries, and improve overall performance.

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Workplace-related Conditions

Workplace-related conditions, such as repetitive strain injuries and ergonomic issues, can be addressed through physiotherapy. Physiotherapists can provide tailored exercises, postural advice, and education on proper workplace ergonomics to prevent and manage these conditions.

Ageing-related Conditions

As we age, our bodies undergo various changes, leading to conditions like osteoporosis, falls, and balance disorders. Physiotherapy can help manage these conditions by improving strength, mobility, balance, and overall function.


Physiotherapists treat a wide variety of conditions, ranging from musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory issues to paediatric, women’s health, sports, workplace, and ageing-related conditions. By providing tailored treatment plans, exercises, and education, physiotherapists play a crucial role in managing these conditions and improving overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference between a physiotherapist and a chiropractor?

Physiotherapists focus on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various physical conditions, while chiropractors primarily concentrate on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, especially those related to the spine.

  1. How often should I see a physiotherapist?

The frequency of physiotherapy sessions varies depending on the individual’s needs and the severity of the condition. Your physiotherapist will recommend a treatment plan tailored to your specific requirements.

  1. Do I need a referral from a doctor to see a physiotherapist?

In the UK, you can access physiotherapy services both through the NHS and privately. A referral from a doctor is usually required for NHS services, but for private physiotherapy, you can often self-refer.

  1. Does physiotherapy hurt?

Physiotherapy may involve some discomfort, especially during the initial stages of treatment. However, physiotherapists are trained to minimise discomfort and work with patients to ensure their comfort throughout the treatment process.

  1. How long does it take to see results from physiotherapy?
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The duration required to see results from physiotherapy varies depending on the individual and the condition being treated. Some patients may experience improvement within a few sessions, while others may require a more extended period of treatment. It is essential to follow your physiotherapist’s recommendations and remain patient during the recovery process.