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What’s the Difference Between a Physiotherapist and an Exercise Physiologist?

It’s easy to confuse a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist, especially since both are in the same work niche. However, these two professions are entirely different. They use varying techniques and principles to treat patients who have suffered physical injury.

We will cover the differences between both healthcare professionals and how their work benefits patients. Keep reading to find out more about Movement 101 physiotherapists and exercise physiologists.

What Does a Physiotherapist Do?

A physiotherapist analyzes, diagnoses, and treats disorders, disabilities, and conditions affecting your body’s functionality and movement. People who have illnesses and injuries that alter their body movement seek medical attention from a physiotherapist. They use a hands-on approach when it comes to evaluation, analysis, and treatment. A physiotherapist may also prescribe exercise, depending on your condition.

Physiotherapists address various conditions, including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Stroke and other neurological injuries
  • Post-surgery rehab
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Balance and mobility issues
  • Back and other spinal joint pain

Some of these conditions are covered by community health, while others need more specialized physiotherapy services like post-surgery rehabilitation.

What Does an Exercise Physiologist Do?

An exercise physiologist specializes in using exercise to manage or alleviate certain conditions. They prescribe exercise to help patients with persistent medical conditions control their condition and hopefully improve their life. Exercise physiologists must complete a four-year Exercise Science and Clinical Exercise Physiology degree at the university. Their exceptional skills help to control and prevent acute or persistent injuries, medical conditions, and disabilities.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) work with the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Arthritis and Osteoporosis
  • Recovery from cancer treatment
  • Fatigue and chronic pain, among others

How Physiotherapists Help Patients

Most people think of arthritis when someone mentions physiotherapy. However, the profession helps patients deal with numerous medical conditions and maintain a healthy life. Physiotherapists offer the following benefits to patients:

  • Help you set the right goals so you can cultivate an active life
  • Address all your uncertainties and concerns about your condition or treatment
  • Help you regain confidence in yourself and your ability to control your condition
  • Offer you reassurance and handy professional advice

Physiotherapists have years of training and experience in muscle and joint problem diagnosis and treatment. Your general practitioner may recommend physiotherapy instead of seeing an orthopedic surgeon or rheumatologist. They ask questions relevant to your condition to help them customize an effective treatment plan for you. Such treatment may comprise:

  • Splints or walking aids to help you remain independent and active
  • Pain-relief treatment including acupuncture, manipulation, massage, heat or ice packs, and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines
  • Primary advice on how to improve your body activity while avoiding injuries caused by exercise
  • Detailed exercise prescriptions

How Exercise Physiologists Help Patients

It has been proven that exercise is an excellent way to manage several medical conditions and reduce your risk of suffering from chronic illnesses. What’s more? Regular exercise helps improve your general well-being, make you happier, improve energy levels and boost your mood. It might help to seek help from an exercise physiologist for the following reasons:

● During Pregnancy or After Child Birth

Since your body experiences significant changes during pregnancy and after childbirth, it would be best to adjust your exercise plan. Exercise is considered safe and advantageous during pregnancy, but performing the wrong exercises could be dangerous. An exercise physiologist can prescribe the right exercises depending on how far you are during pregnancy and post-partum.

● Recovery from an Injury

AEPs work with injured patients to help them in their journey to recovery and reduce the risk of repeated injury. If you see a physiotherapist for an injury, they might recommend an exercise physiologist after the first treatment phase.

● Mental Illness

Planned exercise is an effective way of managing and preventing mental health issues like anxiety and depression. An exercise physiologist can prescribe adequate exercise to people living with mental conditions.

● Chronic Pain

Pain becomes chronic if it surpasses the usual healing time or persists for more than three months. Exercise physiologists are highly qualified in numerous practice-based pain-management options to help you manage or relieve persistent pain.

If you suffer from a chronic condition or persistent pain, you may have to see a physiotherapist and an exercise physiologist before complete recovery. That is because some phases of treatment may require a different approach for effectiveness. Now you know who to reach out to if you need help with mobility, joints, and balance.