Physiotherapist Vs Physical Therapist: Who Should You See?

Physiotherapist Vs Physical Therapist

Getting injured while driving vehicles, working in offices, and doing household chores aren’t uncommon occurrences. Many Americans suffering from aching receive professional treatment by visiting a licensed physical therapist (PT) or physiotherapist. However, some people are confused about the difference between these physical therapists and physiotherapists. This article will explain the difference between these two vocations. Therefore, you should keep reading to resolve the physiotherapist vs physical therapist conundrum.

Physiotherapist vs Physical Therapist – are they the same thing?

Let’s start by asking some pretty basic questions about these professions. WebMD describes the job of physiotherapists as treating a patient’s movement-impacting injuries to increase mobility. On the other hand, physical therapists also improve a patient’s movement through prescribed exercises.

Moreover, a crucial aspect of the physiotherapist vs physical therapist conundrum involves none being capable of prescribing medicine. Now, you can understand that physiotherapists and PTs are the same for laypeople. People visit these professionals for the following:

  • Regulating aging
  • Working on your posture
  • Honing their balance and mobility
  • Getting rehabilitated after a disease
  • Preparing for an upcoming surgery (“pre-hab”)

Physiotherapist vs Physical Therapist – what makes them different?

Okay, we’ve seen how physiotherapists and physical therapists are similar. Are there any differences between these two vocations? In the United States, PTs help people through rehabilitation. However, PTs are called physiotherapists in other parts of the world, such as Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other places. However, it’s just an approximation and not an exact equivalence.

Another difference is that PTs obtain a doctorate in physical therapy. That’s how they’re allowed to practice in the United States since 2020. But physiotherapists acquire biology-focused education. But you can get a doctorate in physiotherapy to become a doctor.

Physiotherapist vs Physical Therapist – how do they help you?

So, who should you see, physiotherapists or physical therapists? The answer depends on what sort of services these two provide. Even though the terms are used interchangeably, they normally refer to two different ways of getting healthy such as:

  • Physiotherapists employ massage-based techniques to heal you. So, their methods depend on their hands. They treat patients via massage, acupuncture, and electrical stimulation. So, a physiotherapist’s tricks of the trade include PIM, METs, osteopathy, soft-tissue techniques, and joint mobilization/manipulation.
  • Physical therapists focus more on exercises. Learn about how exercises help you become stronger and healthier. They employ different techniques to make your body move. As you can see, movement is lacking from the patient’s side in physiotherapy. That’s why people with non-life-threatening injuries go to PTs. Their methods may involve BFR and TENS, among others. Contact a local PT to know more.

Physiotherapist vs Physical Therapist – where do you find them?

Since physiotherapists are known as physical therapists in the United States, they mostly find work in all healthcare institutions. But you can make a distinction based on their different qualifications. So, these two work in these places:

  • Physiotherapists work in clinics, hospitals, and post-surgery centers where they help people recover. But your sessions with these professionals may terminate after a few days/weeks.
  • On the other hand, patients see physical therapists for a long time. These guys will be in gyms, private clinics, and rehabilitation centers. A therapist shall even come to your home out of medical necessity if you qualify.

We hope you have now understood the physiotherapist vs physical therapist debate. You can decide which healthcare practitioner you should see based on the nature of the services they offer. So, after comparing their techniques, you can evaluate which one you want to see for your injuries.

People also ask

Are physiotherapists doctors?

No, they are not doctors. It means they can’t prescribe medication.

How long can physical therapy sessions last?

These sessions can take 30-90 minutes of your time are take place twice/thrice each week.

Why are physiotherapists always dressed in white?

It’s because over 90% of patients are more comfortable with physiotherapists wearing white clothes.

Are physical therapists (PTs) in the United States like doctors?

As of 2020, all PTs must have a doctorate in physical therapy. However, they aren’t the kind of doctors you’re thinking about right now.

What’s the difference between physiotherapists and kinesiotherapists?

Physiotherapists refer their patients to kinesiotherapists for long-term treatment who help patients gain strength, mobility, and endurance back, i.e., rehabilitation.


Now, you have successfully unmasked the physiotherapist vs physical therapist mystery. In short, there’s no difference between them if you want to use these two terms casually. In the United States, we name this occupation physical therapy (PT). However, while PTs are mostly found in gyms and clinics, hospitals and post-surgery facilities hire physiotherapists. You can’t become a physical therapist if you haven’t obtained a doctorate in this subject, but a physiotherapist’s education is biology-focused. So, PTs create exercise-based approaches to help patients recover. Physiotherapists, on the other hand, are interested in a more “hands-on” approach, such as massage. That’s it! That’s the difference, people.


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