Everything you’ve ever wondered about the field of physiotherapy is answered here. How many years does it take to become a physiotherapist?  What skills do I need? Find out what it takes to become a successful physiotherapist.

What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

Physiotherapy or physical therapy is a type of therapy used to restore motor function when a person is affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists use physical and non-surgical techniques to restore movement in the patient after an injury. Some of the techniques involve massage therapy, or a series of exercises to aid physical rehabilitation.

Physiotherapists take a holistic approach and work with patients of all ages to develop a customized treatment plan, helping them to alleviate pain and restore mobility. They work with doctors in parallel, providing feedback about a patient’s progress and alerting the doctor to any issues they notice.

Without a doubt, to do their job accurately physiotherapists must have a thorough knowledge of the human body and how the bones, muscles and nerves function. As they treat ailments in different areas such as pediatrics, orthopedics, sports therapy, neurology, and cardiopulmonary therapy, a physiotherapist is required to undergo specialized training. So how does one become a physiotherapist? How long does it take to become a physiotherapist? If these are questions you’ve found yourself asking, read on to learn how to become a physiotherapist after 12th grade.

How to Become a Physiotherapist?

To become a physiotherapist, you first need to earn an undergraduate or a masters degree in physiotherapy. The degree will give you theoretical knowledge as well as practical experience with work placements. Entry requirements for physiotherapy degrees depend on the college you’re applying to, but most colleges typically require you to have taken related subjects like biology in high school, or in undergraduate if you’re applying for masters. In the U.S., after your education, you need to pass the state exam to become licensed. After earning a masters in physiotherapy, if you want to become a sports physiotherapist or an orthopedic physiotherapist, you will need to do a PG diploma in the respective field.

What Other Skills Are Required to Become a Physiotherapist?

Since most of your work as a physiotherapist will involve interacting with your patients directly, strong communications skills are required to be able to explain conditions and treatments easily to clients. Sometimes, patients tend to get frustrated with themselves and their progress, so it’s important to have a calm demeanor and reassure them. Physiotherapy can involve holding a patient or lifting them up, so a certain amount of physical strength is required.

What Conditions Do Physiotherapists Treat?

A physiotherapist can treat a vast number of conditions and injuries, such as:

  • Orthopedic: Back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, low back pain, foot conditions, sciatica, knee conditions, joint problems, etc.
  • Neurological: Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy (nerve damage), vertigo, cerebral palsy, stroke, concussion, etc.
  • Autoimmune: Fibromyalgia, Raynaud’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Chronic conditions: Asthma, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.
  • General wellness

Physiotherapists need to be qualified to perform physical examinations, conduct assessments, diagnose a problem, choose a treatment plan, and monitor the effectiveness of a treatment. Physiotherapists use various therapeutic intervention techniques to treat a patient, like X-rays, ultrasounds etc.

Career Prospects for Physiotherapists

Physiotherapists are needed in every section of healthcare. They may work in a clinic, hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation facility, or at the patient’s home. Physiotherapists are always on demand. Younger professionals can find jobs with decent salaries in hospitals, offices or sports teams as part of the medical team. One can also take up job roles in teaching, research or management.