What is Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy

vs

Chiropractic

Physiotherapist: A person trained to assess and treat physical disabilities by means of remedial exercises, manual therapy and mechanical, thermal or electrical energy (Supplementary Medical Professions Ordinance Cap. 359). 1


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Professional Title

Chiropractor: A person trained and qualified in the practice of chiropractic including the practice of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of functional disorders of the human body through manipulation of the joints, particularly of the vertebral column and peripheral joints, including the pelvis (Chiropractors Registration
Ordinance Cap. 428). 2

Developed from orthodox western medicine.


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Origin

Developed as one of the complementary and alternative therapies. 3

  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of diseases/injuries
  • Treatment/intervention
  • Habilitation
  • Rehabilitation
Movement and functional ability affected by personal factors (e.g. age), injury, diseases/disorders, environmental factors. Impairment/dysfunctions in the body systems involved:
  • musculoskeletal
  • neurological
  • cardiopulmonary
  • Integumentary 6

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Treatment philosophy

Adoption of the theory of vertebral subluxation as causes of body diseases or disorders. 4

  • Exercise therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Functional training
  • Acupuncture
  • Other technologies
  • Patient education (e.g., self-management, injury prevention) 6

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Treatment methods

Primarily relying on vertebral manipulation to adjust spinal mal-alignment. 4

Other adjunctive treatments e.g. electrotherapy.

  • Public, non-governmental, and private sectors
  • Hospitals
  • Out-patient clinics, ambulatory care/day rehab centres
  • Elderly homes
  • Residential facilities for disabled Schools (e.g., special schools)
  • Sports on-field
From in-patient care to ambulatory and community care From acute, subacute, extended and rehabilitative care.6

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Practice Setting (HK)

Private sector, mainly ambulatory care.

Differences between Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

Rehabilitation is “a set of measures that assist individuals, who experience or are likely to experience disability, to achieve and maintain optimum functioning in interaction with their environments” (WHO, 2011)5. Both Physiotherapy (PT) and Occupational therapy (OT) are integral to health care services.

Physiotherapy

vs

Occupational Therapy

Physiotherapist: A person trained to assess and treat physical disabilities by means of remedial exercises, manual therapy and mechanical, thermal or electrical energy. (Supplementary Medical Professions Ordinance Cap. 359) 1 Physiotherapy is services provided by physiotherapists to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan (World Physiotherapy Policy Statement: Description of Physical Therapy, 2019). 6

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Professional title & service

Occupational Therapist A person trained to assess and treat disabilities caused by diseases or injuries using mental, physical or social activities to enable the disabled to achieve the maximum possible independence in daily life (Supplementary Medical
Professions Ordinance Cap. 359). 1

Occupational therapy is a “client-centred health profession concerned with promoting health and well- being through occupation”, which includes life roles and leisure activities (WFOT Resource Manual: Occupational Therapy for Displaced Persons, 2019). 7 

.

Movement and functional ability affected by personal factors (e.g. age), injury, diseases/disorders, environmental factors (World Physiotherapy, 2019). 6

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Treatment focus

Occupations: defined as any type of meaningful activity in which one engages in order to “occupy” one’s time (e.g., work, activities of daily living, sleep, leisure, socialparticipation) (AOTA, 2014; WFOT, 2019). 7,8

  • Exercise therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Manual therapy
  • Functional training
  • Acupuncture
  • Other technologies
  • Patient education (e.g., self-management, injury prevention) 6

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Treatment methods

Modification of occupation or environment  (WFOT, 2013). 9

  • Public, non-governmental, and private sectors
  • Hospitals
  • Out-patient clinics, ambulatory care/day rehab centres
  • Elderly homes
  • Residential facilities for disabled
  • Schools (e.g., special schools)
  • Sports on-field
  • From in-patient care to ambulatory and community care
  • From acute, subacute, extended and rehabilitative care 6

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Practice Settings (HK)

Similar to physiotherapy, but the private sector is smaller.

Case Example

Using patients with total hip replacement as an example, both physiotherapists and occupational therapists are involved in providing pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation to these clients. PT focuses more on airway clearance, range of motion and strengthening exercises of the operative leg, gait training, exercises for improving balance and endurance, and prescription of walking aid (e.g., cane) to facilitate independent walking function. On the other hand, OT focuses more on cognitive function, psychosocial support, home modification (position and height of furniture, grab bars for bathroom) and prescription of assistive devices adaptive equipment to facilitate independent ADL (e.g., dressing sticks), as indicated (Riddell, 2013).12

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Print time:  25 Apr 2024, 11:32:13