What is the Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy?

What is the Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy?

Most of the time, people use the two terms physical therapy and physiotherapy interchangeably. You may be shocked to learn that physical therapy and physiotherapy are almost the same because both focus on the same goals. However, if you look for distinction, there are, perhaps, some differences between them. Physiotherapy focuses more on manual therapy, while physical therapy uses an exercise-based approach. Read this article to know more about these two therapies, the difference between them and the techniques they both use during the treatment.

What is Physiotherapy?

Many people assume that physiotherapy is only for back and sports injuries, but it is not the thing in every case. Physiotherapy is used to treat illness, injury, or any kind of body disorder through physical methods. Physiotherapists are professionals who are highly trained in providing treatment to people suffering from physical problems. You will find some of the best clinics if you are looking for Physiotherapy AshfordThe main goal of physiotherapy is to reduce the effects of body dysfunction, relieve the pain and restore the functioning of a body. It improves the quality of life of a person experiencing discomfort due to illness.

Techniques Used in Physiotherapy

To relieve pain and muscle stiffness, improve blood circulation and body movement, and promote relaxation, physiotherapy uses these manual techniques.


Massage is best to stimulate the soft tissues to relieve pain and improve blood circulation.

Soft tissue technique

This technique is similar to stretching and has a similar purpose to a massage.

Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilization

It is a manual therapy that is performed using handcrafted instruments.

Minimal Energy Techniques

It is also a form of manual therapy that uses the energy of muscles to relax and lengthen them.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is the medical care performed to ease pain and help the person move easily, function efficiently, and live better. Physical therapists use this treatment to improve the ability of a person to recover steadily from an injury, surgery, accident, or any other situation. Physical therapists are trained and experts with the experience of diagnosing physical abnormalities and restoring function. It is helpful to improve daily life functioning.

Techniques Involved in Physical therapies

Look at some of the common techniques used by physical therapists.

Hot and cold therapies

This therapy uses nitrogen in aerosols, cold packs, and cryogenics to treat mild pain. Hot packs and infrared heat are used for chronic pain.

Physical exercise

The therapists teach the patients different exercises to contract, relax, and improve mobility. This practice helps to improve everyday movements.

Electrical Stimulation technique

This therapy is for chronic and acute pain. In this therapy, electrodes were placed on the skin and pain is treated. Signals sent through nerves reduce the pain signals.

Ultrasound Treatment

Ultrasound treatment in physical therapy is used to reduce inflammation by inducing deep heat in the area of pain.

Neuromuscular Re-education

In case of injury or atrophy, neuromuscular reeducation aims at voluntary muscle control.

Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical therapy

Now you have read the definitions of physiotherapy and physical therapy in detail. You are now also familiar with the difference in techniques used in both treatments. However, to keep things simple and clear for you, here is a piece of information about these two branches of therapy through their focus on treatments.

  • Physiotherapy focuses on hospital work, urgent emergencies, and post-operative care, such as post surgeries recovery, sports injury, illness etc.
  • Physical therapy focuses on the treatment of non-threatening conditions, such as muscular pain, injuries, chronic movement issues, strains etc.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that both physical therapy and physiotherapy focus on the same goals. So, there is no clear-cut line in the debate between physiotherapy and physical therapy. The goals of both are to prevent injury, improve flexibility, and manage pain. However, based on all the differences discussed in this article, patients can decide what therapy works best for them according to the situation they are experiencing. The important part is choosing a highly qualified and experienced practitioner. Do your research, choose the clinic and get treatment after getting a personal situation assessment.

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