Sports injuries and other physical discomforts can be a real pain to get over. From chronic back aches to joint pain, slow muscle recovery or even post-surgery rehab, recovery can be particularly taxing when your discomfort prevents you from enjoying other aspects of your life, like work or social activities.
Whether you’re experiencing headaches, a sporting injury, knee pain or a complex illness like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, a physiotherapist can assist in improving your condition in the short term, to then build up strength in the long term. A physiotherapist is a medical professional qualified to treat diseases, deformities and injuries through physical methodologies. These can include exercises, massage, hydrotherapy and heat treatment.
Finding a physiotherapist who you’re comfortable with can be a challenge – you want to feel like you can trust them to build a program that accounts for all your particular needs and comfort levels without crossing any physical or personal boundaries. But what qualities make a good physiotherapist, and where can you find the best in Canberra? In this article, we’ll break down a few key things to look out for when finding a physio, and a helpful guide to some of Canberra’s best.
What makes a great physiotherapist?
As with any other type of health professional, physiotherapists have different backgrounds, personalities and areas of expertise. To find one that’s compatible with you and your needs, we recommend keeping an eye out for the following traits:
- Expertise and experience. The best therapists are lifelong learners. Finding a physio with up-to-date knowledge and qualifications is essential to ensuring you receive the best treatment possible, so make sure you ask your physiotherapist what kind of therapy work they’ve done before and if they are experienced with your type of injury.
- Variety of therapy styles. The best physiotherapy practices offer a variety of different therapies so that they can treat all kinds of injuries, such as acupuncture, hydrotherapy, and Pilates classes. Finding a practice that can build a broad and holistic program to help you best recover from your injury, as opposed to a practice that can only offer massages and at-home exercises, can mean the difference between a short-term fix with more pain and discomfort in the future and a long-term solution that will help you build up strength.
- Holistic approach. From sprained ankles to chronic back pain, all conditions affect multiple body systems in different ways. Look for a physiotherapist that takes a holistic approach, assessing and treating every system in the body, and is approaching your problems with the big, long-term picture in mind.
- Ability to listen and understand your condition. Every patient is unique. A tailored approach needs to start with the ability to listen to each patient. If you feel your concerns aren’t being taken seriously, or you aren’t being heard, consider working with a different practitioner.
- Compassion. It’s no secret that ill health can make us feel vulnerable. Your physio should be empathetic and compassionate so that you feel supported and really trust them to have your best interests at heart.
The best physiotherapists in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
With over 30 years of experience, Hawker Place Physiotherapy and Pilates provides the highest standard of care in a safe, friendly and professional environment. From osteoporosis prevention to rehabilitating sporting injuries and treating pelvic floor conditions, Hawker Place Physiotherapy and Pilates' qualified team uses evidence-based practices to assess, diagnose and treat every patient.
Hawker Place is one of Canberra's only private physiotherapy practices with a qualified lymphoedema practitioner. You don't need a referral, and appointments are usually available within 48 hours. It also offers evidence-based clinical pilates guided by APPI qualified physiotherapists, as well as small group and private therapeutic exercises classes.
The practice, which is conveniently located near Hawker Shops in Belconnen, takes online bookings. There is plenty of free parking nearby.
Ellebanna Eel wrote on RiotACT, "Hawker physio is amazing! I've seen Grant there and done Pilates. Incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and he's the first physio I've seen who understands how injury, pain and movement impact real life... Effective, professional and wholistic."
Back in Strength, founded in 2011, provides physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and Pilates services.
It's personalised physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation services helps patients overcome pain and regain movement, to live freer, healthier and happier lives. Back in Strength’s physiotherapists can assess, diagnose, treat and manage physical dysfunction.
At Back in Strength, physiotherapists use their clinical experience to diagnose the problem, working with the client to develop power and strength in movement. It tailors programs, treating back, neck and pelvis issues (chronic and acute). The studio is the first in Canberra to introduce Redcord, a tool for remedial therapy and those needing challenging core exercises.
Physiotherapists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. All of their team are very experienced and skilled, plus you can make an appointment with Jean Lim, a physiotherapist from Singapore who is fluent in Mandarin
Open Monday to Saturday. Free parking and disability access.
mariahgwilko wrote on Riotact, “Anne at Back in Strength at Deakin is incredible. Really takes the time to help create a program for you personally! They also have Pilates as well which helped with my issues.”
Led by qualified physiotherapist Rebecca McRae, REBOOT Physiotherapy has a clear focus on finding the cause of each patient's symptoms. Offering services such as surgery rehabilitation, acute injury assessment, hydrotherapy and many more, REBOOT is able to cater to all bodies and injuries no matter the severity. All initial consultations are scheduled for one-hour so that there is plenty of time to share your story and for Rebecca to complete a thorough assessment and treatment.
Google reviewer Reina Ledson had the following to say about their experience with REBOOT, "Very comfortable with all aspects of the treatment. The sessions I have had have greatly helped me overcome difficulty in Rotor Cuff issues after a fall. Also ongoing exercise plan for me to implement. Highly recommended."
Are you looking for more ways to improve your physical health? Check out our articles on the best Pilates studios in Canberra, the best acupuncturists in Canberra and the best Yoga Studios in Canberra for some useful information on our city’s top services.
Your experience with physiotherapists in Canberra
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a physiotherapist do?
A physiotherapist's job is to restore, maintain and improve upon their patients' physical well-being. They can also help train and prevent injuries for athletes. Physiotherapists use physical rehabilitation, injury prevention and strength and conditioning exercises to help their patients' overall fitness and well-being. Physiotherapy is not only useful to athletes or those of us with minor physical injuries - it's crucial for people with chronic physical illnesses, reduced motor function, or who are recovering from surgery and operations.
Why should I see a physiotherapist?
Physical injuries that are left untreated may lead to severe physical problems in the future. If you're experiencing constant or recurring physical pain, seeing a physiotherapist may help to address the pain, and work to relieve. Additionally, physiotherapy can be beneficial if you're an athlete, currently pregnant, or have recently had major surgery.
How long do I need to see a physiotherapist for?
This depends on what your issue is. If you find that after a few weeks your pain has gone, then your physiotherapist might recommend you work on some exercises at home but no longer need to continue appointments. However, athletes might want to consider seeing a physiotherapist regularly in order to prevent long term injuries. Whatever the case, your physiotherapist should have a good idea of what is necessary for you.
What types of physiotherapy are there?
Physiotherapy is an umbrella term for many types of physical therapies that are aimed at improving the long term well-being and functionality of your body. As different injuries require different types of treatments, you might find that some therapies work better than others. Hydrotherapy, for example, can be great for people with joint pain or muscle deterioration who need low-impact resistance training; massage may work well for people with hypertension in their muscles or limited mobility; and acupuncture can be suited to people suffering from chronic pain who need regular pain relief. Whatever your problem, there is a physical therapy - or a combination of therapies - that might help you.
Is a physiotherapist a doctor?
Technically speaking, no, unless they have completed the appropriate qualifications to be called a doctor. That being said, all physiotherapists have training in physiotherapy that qualifies them for the job. So, even though they don't necessarily have an MD, physiotherapists are able to diagnose your issues and provide treatments for them.