A physiotherapist can be a great ally to doctors and medical students. Ciaran Scott Hill tells you what physiotherapists really do and explains how we can get the most out of them
After five years and countless late nights, I've now completed my physiotherapy degree and am in my penultimate year of the graduate entry medicine programme at Bart's and the Royal London School of Medicine. Throughout my training I've seen many similarities between physiotherapy and medicine and an even greater number of misconceptions on both sides. This is especially important in the current culture of multidisciplinary teamwork. Physiotherapists are the third largest group of healthcare providers after nurses and doctors, but general knowledge about them is limited and they are often stereotyped as masseuses, granny draggers, and physioterrorists. Be careful with these stereotypes as they are outdated, inaccurate, and unsurprisingly they are likely to cause offence.
It is difficult to summarise physiotherapy (also known as physical therapy in some countries) as a profession. The workload is split between the broad categories of musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, and neurology specialties. Physiotherapists analyse movement and