How Does Physiotherapy Actually Work?

By 24/04/2019 April 28th, 2021 No Comments
Physiotherapy Auckland

Physiotherapy is an important part of the New Zealand health system. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis rely on physiotherapy to overcome injuries, alleviate pain and increase their overall quality of life.

Despite the widespread use of physiotherapy, there remains some confusion over how physiotherapy actually works and its effectiveness as a form of treatment. We want to shed some light on that.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how physiotherapy works and the role it plays in treating and preventing injuries.

The aim of physiotherapy

Let’s start with the basics. Physiotherapy is a type of treatment based on the study of physiology, neuroscience and anatomy. Its aim is simple: restore proper function to your body, help you return to your usual activities and reduce the risk of further injury.

In contrast to other branches of medicine, which tend to rely on drugs and surgery to treat injuries and diseases, physiotherapy uses physical methods such as massage, movement and exercise. Physiotherapy can be used to treat a specific injury, or it can be applied to enhance your general wellbeing.

What can physiotherapy treat?

Whether it’s used as a standalone treatment or as complementary therapy, physiotherapy plays a critical role in restoring lost movement and function.

Physiotherapy is primarily used to treat musculoskeletal issues, including a wide range of sports and work-related injuries. If you’ve taken a knock on the sports field or suffered an injury at work due to heavy lifting or performing repetitive movements, there’s a good chance physiotherapy will play a big part in your treatment.

There’s an enormous body of research supporting the use of physiotherapy for treating musculoskeletal problems. For example, dozens of studies have demonstrated that physiotherapy can help with joint injuries and pain relating to the back, neck, shoulder, knee wrist and ankle. Physiotherapy is also often prescribed to speed up the post-surgery rehabilitation process.

Understanding physiotherapy techniques

Physiotherapists use a range of techniques to help rebuild your strength and mobility. Generally speaking, these techniques fall into one of three categories:

Manual therapy

Physios use their hands to manipulate body tissue in a way that relieves pain, improves circulation and reduces tension in specific parts of the body.


While hands-on treatment can do wonders, it’s important to remember that physios are also an excellent source of education and advice. A good physio can provide you with expert insight into your exercise, dietary and postural habits, and give you some tips you can apply to your everyday activities.


Last but not least, physios regularly prescribe exercises that are designed to improve mobility and function. This can help strengthen the affected body part, improve your biomechanics and enable you to safely return to your normal level of physical activity.

Do physios need special training?

The physiotherapy sector is tightly regulated here in New Zealand. That means all physiotherapists must have a university degree in physiotherapy at the very minimum. Many go on to study further to deepen or broaden their area of expertise and continue developing as professionals.

All physios in New Zealand are registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, which is tasked with overseeing the physiotherapy industry. The Board ensures that all its members are appropriately qualified and meet certain competence, cultural and ethical standards.

Doing your rehab exercises is critical

As part of your treatment, your physio may prescribe you certain exercises to help strengthen the affected area and improve function and mobility. These exercises can speed up the healing process, reduce the risk of injury and provide you with tangible markers of progress. Despite the importance of rehab exercises, studies show that 7 out of 10 patients do not fully adhere to their physiotherapy treatment plan!

Book an appointment with your North Shore physio

Whether you’re dealing with an injury, chronic illness or some other health concern, the team at Dynamic Physio have the experience and expertise you need to get your health back on track.

Book an appointment with your local North Shore physio by giving us a call today on 09 4762166 or use our handy online booking service.