Physical therapy

Physical therapy (also known as physiotherapy) is a health profession concerned with the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and disability through physical means. It is based upon principles of medical science, and is generally held to be within the sphere of conventional (rather than alternative) medicine. Physiotherapy is practiced by physiotherapists (also known as physical therapists, e.g. in the United States), though aspects may also be practiced under supervised delegation by physiotherapy assistants or other health professionals.

Scope of practice
Physiotherapists' scope of practice varies considerably across the world, both in terms of the degree of professional autonomy enjoyed and the range of conditions managed.

Physiotherapists in some jurisdications, such as the Australian states, enjoy professional autonomy, with the ability to act as primary care providers and to determine — and be responsible for — a patient's management plan. Conversely, physiotherapists in some other juristictions work upon referral from, and largely under the direction of, other professionals (typically medical practitioners).

The major conditions managed by physiotherapists can be broadly grouped into three categories: musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary and neurological. Many areas of physiotherapy, e.g. rehabilitation or paediatrics, cross all three areas. Depending on the local healthcare system, physiotherapists may be involved in all areas, or may only manage certain aspects (e.g. in some United States juristictions, respiratory therapists manage many aspects of cardiopulmonary therapy).

Depending on the structure of the local healthcare system, physiotherapists may function either privately (e.g. in a private clinic) or publicly (e.g. in a hospital or community setting). Furthermore, physiotherapists may work as generalists managing a wide range of conditions, or may specialise in certain fields. The process of determining career structure and specialisation varies geographically

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