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Physiotherapy is one of the main health professions involved in rehabilitation, helping patients to

take an active part in their return to function. The role of the physiotherapist is made more
challenging when patients' expectations, and those of their medical carers, are distinctly lower
than those of the physiotherapist; it is also harder when patients construe all their symptoms and
difficulties as manifestations of significant pathology. Applying psychological modelsz and
principles is much more than common sense, and can bridge these gaps, making sense of
patients predicaments, and providing possibilities for change and improved function (Harding
and Williams, in press). Since we work in the chronic pain field, we will use it in examples, but
the principles have application to all spheres of physiotherapy rehabilitation.

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Physical therapy (physiotherapy in many English speaking countries) is a health care
profession which provides services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and
restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout life. This includes providing
services in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease
or environmental factors. Functional movement is a hi central element in what it means to be
Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement
potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and
rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being. It
involves the interaction between physical therapist (PT), patients/clients, other health
professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is
assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physical therapists.

Physical therapy is performed by either a physical therapist (PT) or an assistant (PTA) acting
under their direction.

PTs utilize an individual's history and physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis and establish
a management plan, and when necessary, incorporate the results of laboratory and imaging
studies. Electrodiagnostic testing (e.g. electromyograms and nerve conduction velocity testing)
may also be of assistance.

Physical therapy has many specialties including cardiopulmonary, geriatrics, neurologic,
orthopaedic and pediatrics to name some of the more common areas. PTs practice in many
settings, such as outpatient clinics or offices, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, extended care
facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial workplaces
or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities.

Educational qualifications vary greatly by country. The span of education ranges from some
countries having little formal education to others requiring masters and doctoral degrees.