What is the difference between physiotherapy and chiropractic care?

While there are some small similarities in that they both treat and manage pain, there are also considerable differences. The general rule is that you go to a physiotherapist for soft tissue, joint and muscular problems because they are focussed on movement and function. They use a massage technique to rehabilitate a person after injury and other conditions.

Chiropractors spend time on treating and preventing musculoskeletal issues – spine, pelvis, muscles, ligaments and joints using manual adjustment. While most attention involves manipulating the spine and neck, chiropractors also use hands-on care and exercise.

How much does it cost to see a physiotherapist in Australia?

Depending on your situation, the cost of physiotherapy will differ. While the average price in Australia is anywhere between $90 – $130 per appointment, some offsets will assist with this.

For example, if you are covered by Medicare (with an EPC referral from your GP), you will either pay nothing or the difference after the rebate has been paid. If you have extras with a health fund, the offset will cover some of your costs, making it a more affordable solution.

Do I need a doctor’s approval or referral to see a physiotherapist?

There are no requirements for you to get a referral to see a physiotherapist, but you can if you wish. Before visiting a physiotherapist, you can go to your GP to talk about your options and if you want to get a referral.

If you don’t go to your doctor and go straight to the physio, be sure to share any health problems you are experiencing, how much you exercise and any past or current injuries.

What do I bring to my first appointment?

Unless there are some relevant X-rays or referral information, the primary consideration for your first physio appointment is what to wear. It will be recommended that you wear clothes that are loose and comfortable.

You will need to consider which area of the body will be worked on as you may need to remove clothing, so planning in advance will help the appointment run more smoothly. You may want to take a notebook to take down any information or exercises you will need to do at home.

Which injuries, body parts and syndromes do you treat?

Physiotherapists work on various parts of the body, such as treating back, neck and shoulder pain and any injuries resulting from sports.

It is also used for issues resulting from neurological disorders such as strokes, acquired brain injury and Parkinson’s disease, just to name a few. They can also treat Cardiothoracic conditions, including asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The list is almost endless because it’s such a versatile form of treatment where the physio can specialise in different body areas.

Our podiatrists work more specifically from the hip down. They specialise int he lower limb and will treat a range of pathologies relating to these areas. This includes minor surgical procedures, sporting injuries, general care and biomechanics assessments. 

What rebates are available when I book an appointment?

There are two types of rebates that are available when booking a physio or pod appointment. If you are eligible, you can get a Medicate rebate for physiotherapy or podiatry from your GP.

Using a care plan – if you have the right physical condition and getting a specific referral from a doctor, you can get a rebate up to 5 visits a year. While there may be a mild gap, Medicare covers a large portion.

Additionally, if you have extras on your health care fund, we claim on the spot transactions with HICAPS.

What can I expect during a physiotherapy consultation?

During your first consultation, you will find that your physiotherapist will spend time getting to know about you and your injury or illness, so they will chat with you a fair amount. They will likely also observe you doing basic movements, including sitting, standing or lying down.

Next, they are likely to start treatment with exercise therapy to increase movement and assist with reducing pain. The last step in the appointment will involve discussing the next steps, giving you exercise for the weeks ahead and discuss a timeframe towards recovery.

Will physiotherapy help arthritis?

Physiotherapy is quite an effective form of treatment for people living with arthritis. It can be quite an essential part of their treatment because it keeps muscles and joints moving.

In turn, this gives these patients the confidence to exercise at home and keep moving despite their discomfort and pain.

While long term beliefs suggest that moving makes arthritis worse, without movement and help from physiotherapists, strength decreases and muscle begins wasting away. Yes, physiotherapy will assist in treating the symptoms of arthritis.

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