What is Physiotherapy? Techniques, 7 Special Areas

What is Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a medical profession and is primarily concerned with the prevention of disability, impairment, and injury. Want to learn What is Physiotherapy? Physiotherapy aims to promote functional ability, mobility, quality of life, and personal well-being.

Physiotherapists promote, maintain, and restore health through taking proper history of patients, appropriate physical examination, diagnosis, physiotherapy management through various treatment strategies/plans, disease diagnosis, patient education, health promotion, and injury prevention.

Techniques Physiotherapist use?

Depending on the nature of the injury and the condition of the patient, physiotherapists use different techniques. The most common physiotherapy techniques are:

1. Manual Therapy:

This includes joint mobility, manipulation, soft tissue release, massage therapy, and manual traction to treat any restrictions, stiffness, muscle spasms, and pain so that the patient can regain normal motion of the joint.

Additionally, it improves circulation, increases mobility, and relaxes tight muscles and soft tissues.

Benefits of Manual Therapy:

  • Pain Reduction: Manual therapy helps reduce pain by improving joint mobility and reducing muscle tension.
  • Improved Range of Motion: It increases flexibility and restores the normal range of motion in joints.
  • Accelerated Healing: By promoting blood circulation and tissue repair, manual therapy aids the healing process.

2. Electro-Therapy:

Physiotherapists also treat patients using modalities that include therapeutic ultrasound, TENS, diathermy, infrared, cryotherapy, etc.

The use of gentle and mild electrical impulses is proven to stimulate your body’s natural painkillers and help suppress and block pain signals. To the brain.

Electrotherapy is effective in reducing pain and improving range of motion. The study findings show that when combined with manual therapy and an exercise program, electrotherapy has been extremely beneficial for the patient.

Applications of Electro-Therapy:

  • Pain Management: TENS is often used for pain relief by interfering with pain signals to the brain.
  • Muscle Rehabilitation: EMS is used to strengthen muscles and improve their function.
  • Tissue Healing: Ultrasound therapy helps accelerate soft tissue healing by promoting blood flow.

3. Exercise Programs:

Exercise rehabilitation programs include stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, core stability exercises, range of motion, and flexibility exercises to promote body movement, increase the length of tight muscles, correct posture, And aid in the prevention of contraction and do not use atrophy.

Components of Exercise Programs:

  • Strength Training: Targeting specific muscle groups to build strength and stability.
  • Flexibility Exercises: reduce stiffness and increase joint range of motion.
  • Functional Activities: Involving movements that mimic daily activities for practical rehabilitation.
  • Taping Techniques: Taping is mostly used for soft tissue injuries. Taping techniques can help stabilize an injury, control pain and swelling, promote healing, and provide relief to painful and weakened structures.

4. Neurodynamics:

Physiotherapists assess the stress or impact on the nerve by performing specific nerve stress tests.

Therefore in case of traumatic nerve strain, the physiotherapist treats the patient by performing neurodynamics, the treatment is a form of dynamic movement that creates sliding on the nerve and helps in reducing the neuropathic symptoms including pain, numbness, pins, and needles-like sensations.

Key Aspects of Neurodynamics:

  • Nerve Gliding: Controlled motion to improve mobility and function of nerves.
  • Pain Relief: reducing pain caused by nerve compression or irritation.
  • Functional Restoration: Enhance nerve function for improved motor and sensory abilities.

Special Areas in Physiotherapy

There is a vast body of physiotherapy knowledge, so physiotherapists choose a specific clinical area to gain expertise in that area. Special areas of physiotherapy include:

1. Neurological Physiotherapy:

In Neurological Physiotherapy, physiotherapists treat individuals who have neurological disorders or diseases which include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, facial palsy, ALS, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, spinal cord injury, etc.

Physiotherapist plays a major role in this. Medical management after physiotherapy can improve the neurological condition of the patients and make them free to perform basic daily living activities.

Role of Physiotherapists:

In neurological physiotherapy, physiotherapists play a multidisciplinary role, addressing the common impairments associated with neurological conditions. This also includes:

  1. Loss of Mobility: Through targeted exercises and interventions, physiotherapists work to restore and improve a person’s mobility, whether walking, moving, or performing specific activities.
  2. Bad Balance: Balance training is an important aspect of rehabilitation, with physiotherapists using exercises to increase stability and reduce the risk of falls.
  3. Sensory and Motor Impairment: Physiotherapy interventions aim to address sensory and motor disorders, facilitating improvements in sensory processing and motor coordination.
  4. Decrease in Muscle Strength: Strengthening exercises are designed to address muscle weakness, promote optimal function, and prevent secondary complications.
  5. Loss of Functional Independence: Physiotherapists work towards restoring functional independence, customizing rehabilitation plans to enable individuals to perform daily activities more easily.

2. Pediatric Physiotherapy:

Pediatric physiotherapy assists in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of children.

Treatment aims to manage pain, improve strength, gross and fine motor skills, balance, address respiratory difficulties, integrate the child’s reflexes, as well as improve cognitive skills.

Conditions Addressed:

Conditions Addressed in Pediatric Physiotherapy:

  1. Developmental Delays: Pediatric physiotherapists play a vital role in identifying and addressing delays in achieving developmental milestones, ensuring that children make appropriate progress.
  2. Brain Disorders: Children with neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy or genetic conditions benefit from tailored interventions to enhance motor skills, coordination, and independence.
  3. Congenital Issues: Physiotherapy interventions address musculoskeletal and activity challenges associated with congenital conditions, promoting functional mobility.
  4. Neuromuscular Challenges: Physiotherapists design specialized programs to address neuromuscular conditions, promoting strength, mobility, and overall physical well-being.
  5. Skeletal Disorders: Conditions affecting the skeletal system, such as scoliosis or orthopedic problems, are managed through physiotherapy to optimize musculoskeletal health.

3. Geriatric Physiotherapy:

Geriatric physiotherapy deals with a variety of health-related illnesses and impairments in the elderly population.

Geriatric physiotherapy plays an important role in increasing mobility and independence levels in the elderly, promoting cardiovascular health, and preventing the risk of falls.

In geriatric physiotherapy, the physiotherapist deals with a variety of conditions that affect people as they age. Another role of the physiotherapist is to make them functional and able to perform their daily tasks after knee or hip replacement surgery.

Common Conditions Addressed:

Common Conditions Addressed in geriatric physiotherapy includes:

  1. Osteoporosis: Physiotherapists in geriatric care develop tailored exercise programs to strengthen bones, improve posture, and reduce the risk of fractures associated with osteoporosis.
  2. Balance Disorder: Geriatric physiotherapy includes interventions to address balance issues, reduce the likelihood of falls, and increase overall stability.
  3. Arthritis: Pain management and joint mobility exercises are integral parts of geriatric physiotherapy for individuals with arthritis, promoting better joint function.
  4. Cancer: Physiotherapy plays a supportive role in managing the physical effects of cancer treatment, addressing issues such as fatigue, weakness, and reduced mobility.
  5. Alzheimer’s Disease: While not curative, physiotherapy interventions aim to enhance the overall well-being of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease by focusing on physical activity and functional abilities.
  6. Incontinence: Geriatric physiotherapists provide strategies and exercises to manage and improve incontinence, allowing greater comfort and dignity.

4. Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy:

In musculoskeletal physiotherapy, the physiotherapist deals with musculoskeletal disorders.

The term musculoskeletal refers to bones, joints muscles, ligaments, capsules, tendons, nerves, discs, etc.

Physiotherapists assess, investigate, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of disorders including sprains, strains, tendinopathy, bursitis, acute trauma, functional or structural. Deformities including scoliosis etc.

Comprehensive Treatment Modalities:

  1. Exercise Prescription: Adapted exercise programs form the cornerstone of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. The purpose of these exercises is to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, and promote overall musculoskeletal health.
  2. Manual Therapy Techniques: Physiotherapists use practical techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue manipulation, and massage to relieve pain, improve joint mobility, and facilitate healing.
  3. Pain Management Strategies: Developing strategies to manage and reduce pain is an integral part of musculoskeletal physiotherapy. This may involve the use of modalities such as heat, cold, or electrical stimulation.
  4. Patient Education: Educating patients about their condition, proper body mechanics and strategies to prevent future injuries is an important aspect.

5. Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy:

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation deals with a wide range of pre-and post-operative disorders of the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

In many pulmonary diseases like asthma, COPD, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, etc.

physiotherapists play a big role in clearing chest mucus by using percussion, vibration, postural drainage, and positioning as well as increasing the strength and stamina of the patient’s respiratory muscles. Doing deep breathing exercises, breathing by pursed lips.

The primary goal of cardiopulmonary physiotherapy is to increase the functional independence of patients and to protect the patient from post-operative complications in the ICU.

Pulmonary Disease Management:

  1. Comprehensive Rehabilitation: Cardiopulmonary physiotherapists engage in comprehensive rehabilitation of individuals with pulmonary diseases. It involves personalized programs designed to improve lung function, reduce symptoms, and enhance overall respiratory health.
  2. Techniques to Clear Mucus: Physiotherapists use techniques such as percussion, vibration, postural drainage, and positioning to help clear chest mucus. These interventions are particularly important in conditions such as asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis, contributing to improved breathing and reduced respiratory distress.
  3. Respiratory Muscle Training: Strengthening the respiratory muscles is a focal point in cardiopulmonary physiotherapy. Through targeted exercises, patients increase the strength and endurance of their respiratory muscles, thereby improving respiratory efficiency.
  4. Breathing Techniques: Patients are guided through deep breathing exercises and pursed-lip breathing. These techniques serve several purposes, including increasing lung capacity, promoting efficient oxygen exchange, and reducing respiratory effort.

Post-Operative Care and ICU Support:

  1. Functional Independence: Rehabilitation programs are designed to address specific limitations, enabling individuals to regain autonomy in daily activities.
  2. ICU Complication Prevention: Physiotherapists play an important role in preventing postoperative complications, especially in the intensive care unit (ICU). This includes proactive measures to maintain respiratory function, prevent pneumonia, and support overall recovery.

6. Sports Physiotherapy:

Sports physiotherapists are involved in the care and well-being of athletes. Following a serious injury, physical therapists perform appropriate evaluation and diagnosis and create a treatment plan for athletes to make a full return to sport.

Sports physiotherapists also play a large role in helping athletes improve their performance and prevent injuries related to sports and recovery interventions.

Manual Therapy:

  1. Soft Tissue Manipulation: Physiotherapists use hands-on techniques to manipulate soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Soft tissue manipulation helps improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and promote blood circulation.
  2. Joint Mobilization: It involves gently moving the joints within their natural range of motion. Joint mobility aims to restore joint function, reduce pain, and improve joint flexibility.
  3. Manipulative Techniques: Physiotherapists may use specific manipulation techniques to address joint problems. These techniques may include joint manipulations and mobilizations to restore optimal joint mechanics.

Therapeutic Exercise:

  1. Strength Training: Tailored strength training programs are designed to correct muscle imbalances, improve overall strength, and increase functional capacity. These exercises play an important role in rehabilitation and injury prevention.
  2. Flexibility and Range of Motion Exercises: Athletes engage in exercises that focus on improving flexibility and range of motion. The purpose of these exercises is to optimize joint mobility, reduce stiffness, and increase overall athletic performance.
  3. Proprioceptive and Balance Exercises: Proprioceptive exercises help athletes develop body awareness and a sense of control. Incorporating balance exercises into rehabilitation programs contributes to stability and injury prevention.
  4. Sports-Specific Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation programs are often designed to mimic the demands of the specific sport in which the athlete participates. This sport-specific approach ensures that the rehabilitation process is tailored to the functional needs of the athlete.


  1. Ultrasound Therapy: Ultrasound therapy involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to stimulate tissue healing. It is commonly used to address soft tissue injuries, promote blood flow, and reduce inflammation.
  2. Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), is used to reduce pain, reduce muscle spasms, and increase muscle strength and function.
  3. Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy: Cryotherapy, which involves the use of cold and heat therapy, is a method used to manage inflammation and promote tissue healing. Cold therapy can reduce swelling, while heat therapy can increase blood flow and relax muscles.
  4. Compression Therapy: Compression garments or wraps may be used to control swelling and promote circulation. This method is especially relevant in the treatment of serious injuries and rehabilitation after surgery.
  5. Hydrotherapy: Hydrotherapy involves exercise and rehabilitation activities performed in water. The buoyancy of water reduces the impact on joints, making it an effective method for rehabilitation and conditioning.

Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM):

IASTM involves the use of specialized instruments to massage and manipulate soft tissues.

This technique helps break down scar tissue, improve blood flow, and increase tissue elasticity.

Cupping Therapy:

Cupping therapy uses suction cups to apply negative pressure to the skin. It is believed to promote blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and facilitate tissue healing.

Kinesio Taping:

Kinesio tape is applied to the skin to support muscles and joints. It is designed to facilitate natural movement, reduce pain, and support injured tissues.

7. Women’s Health Physiotherapy:

Women’s Health Physiotherapy mostly addresses issues related to women’s reproductive system, postpartum, and delivery.

Physiotherapists treat conditions such as urinary incontinence, pelvic pain, lymphedema, and other disorders associated with pelvic floor dysfunction.

The physiotherapist also deals with pregnancy-related musculoskeletal problems including back pain, sciatica, pelvic pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Physiotherapy can solve many problems after menopause including body pain, pelvic floor muscle weakness, bone weakness, etc.

Pelvic floor physiotherapy includes Kegel exercises, EMG biofeedback, and muscle stimulation. Manual therapy and bladder training are beneficial for overactive or painful pelvic muscles.

Women’s health physiotherapists also play an extensive role in rehabilitation after pelvic floor surgery or hysterectomy.


In conclusion, Physiotherapy is an important and diverse field in the field of health care. Physical therapists are dedicated to preventing disability, promoting mobility, and enhancing overall well-being. They use a wide range of techniques, from manual therapy and electrotherapy to exercise programs and specialized treatments tailored to individual needs.

In addition, physiotherapists often specialize in areas such as neurological, pediatric, geriatric, musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, sports and women’s health physiotherapy. Their expertise plays a vital role in addressing the broad spectrum of conditions and injuries, facilitating recovery, and improving the quality of life of patients.

Through their knowledge, skills, and dedication, physiotherapists empower individuals to regain function, manage pain, and enhance their physical and mental health. In summary, physiotherapy is an essential component of health care, making a significant contribution to the well-being and mobility of people at different stages of life.

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