What is Physiotherapy?

First acquaintance with physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is a health science that has as main goal the relief of pain and the restoration of normal function when and where it is disturbed. It deals with diseases of the musculoskeletal, central nervous and cardiorespiratory systems.

There are two reasons to visit a physiotherapist: pain or limited movement (a symptom known as stiffness or ankylosis), symptoms that often occur at the same time. The ultimate goal of physiotherapy are to return as soon as possible to the daily professional, social, family and other activities that the patient did before the onset of his problem safely and secure.

What is the opinion of the public in Greece about physiotherapy?

Common misconceptions about physiotherapy

The impression that prevails almost in the majority of the public in Greece, is that physiotherapy is only about electrotherapy equipment and massage. The responsibility for this lies entirely with our profession.

For many years we mostly  advertise the equipment we have and not our knowledge. The more impressive the equipment, the better it is considered.

Another wrong message that has been passed on to the public, is that physiotherapy should be done for “maintenance” two times a year, every Spring and Autumn. In most cases all such treatments are made with the patient lying in bed and the physiotherapists use various electrotherapy machines , without doing any exercise at all! The most interesting thing is that the so-called “maintenance treatments” are done these 2 times a year even if the person has symptoms whatsoever!

Many people have learned to believe and concern that physiotherapy is forbidden when we someone is  in pain, or that  in order to have improvement one should do  10, 15 or even 20 sessions and after this period physiotherapy will be effective, or  that we should not go out out on the open after physiotherapy and various other inaccuracies.

What is not understood is that modalities do not make a good physiotherapist, but a good physiotherapist will know how to use his knowledge and any equipment properly.

So do we forget about massage and modalities?

The answer is a definitely “no.” We do not look down on the electrotherapy modalities. It is very important though to make it clear that massage and all modalities  are just tools that we use them only  for relief of symptoms such as pain, muscle soreness etc and not the definition of Physiotherapy.

Modern  evidence based Physiotherapy is giving correct information to the public about what our profession really is, promotes clinical examination and  therapeutic exercise as the cornerstone of each treatment plan  the complete information of the patient about his problem, creates an individual treatment and follows it up.It is all about treating the cause and not the symptom.

The obsession with passive therapies that uses only electrotherapy modalities , is an indication of a lack of knowledge on the part of the physiotherapist, which is usually associated with “mass production” of therapies without targeting and individualization according to the needs of each patient.

The importance of proper information in physiotherapy

Many scientific studies have shown that the right information accelerates the reduction of symptoms, strengthens the patient’s self-confidence and efficacy, reduces the chances of suffering from chronic symptoms and “institutionalization”, improves the mood of the person to actively participate to the treatment and finally be part of the solution, which saves time and money.

Physiotherapy specializations

  • Pediatric physiotherapy that deals with young children and the diseases they develop that are usually neurological.
  • Respiratory physiotherapy for patients in the intensive care unit, after hospitalizations who need to restore their proper respiratory function.
  • The musculoskeletal physiotherapy that concerns the majority of patients and concerns the musculoskeletal diseases such as back pain, sciatica, cervical syndrome, fractures, all kinds of pain, etc.
  • Physiotherapy for urinary disorders such as incontinence after surgery, after childbirth, etc.
  • The physiotherapy of adult neurological diseases involving patients who have suffered a stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, etc.
  • Physiotherapy in rheumatology or patients with hemophilia

What to expect

Clinical examination & treatment

Clinical examination

Clinical examination is the cornerstone of a proper treatment. The first session  is about taking the patient’s history, and performing some diagnostic moves (tests) that show us the mechanism that is responsible for the symptom and is a necessary process for the design of the treatment program which is completely individualized for each  patient.

When a patient comes for treatment after been operated ,  it is necessary for the physiotherapist to communicate with the doctor, in order to receive instructions regarding the limits within which the treatment must be established. For example, certain movements may not be allowed for a period of time, or the patient may not have to use the entire body weight on a limb during walking.

These limits are re-established  as healing progresses and that is why physiotherapist-physician collaboration is so important.


Based on the findings of the clinical examination and the instructions given, the treatment plan is designed, which is usually divided into two phases, which very often overlap:

Phase 1

In this phase, emphasis is placed on reducing pain and general desensitization of the patient. Various electrotherapy modalities can be used here which basically help in treating the symptoms.

At the same time, manual techniques  are used, which are targeting  the cause of the pain and involve the joints, muscles, or nerve tissue in order to relieve the symptoms.

Phase 2

In this phase, the therapeutic exercise begins, which is individualized and each patient begins to load properly the part of his body that suffers. Exercises are selected that ensure maximum functionality and they are modified according to the progress of the treatment  and the symptoms of the patient.

The ultimate goal is to fully recover from the problem and return to the activities that the patient did before the onset of the problem.

Take home message

  • Phase 2 of treatment should begin as soon as possible.

  • The use of electrotherapy modalities should be assistive and not the only treatment.

  • Exercise should start even from the first visit always respecting the limits of pain.

  • The improvement in most cases should be immediate and the change in symptoms visible until the third visit.

For more information fill in the prosomatic physio, or call us at 2107784822 to make an appointment to help you with the issue that concerns you.

  • Correct information means faster and better recovery, better mental health and saving time and money.

  • Do not be afraid if your MRI or CT scan shows a hernia or any  other structural lesion. We do not treat MRI’s, CT scans, X-Rays  but people who suffer.

  • Never give up, seek professional help form a specialist