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At first glance, it’s easy to confuse a general physician (GP)/doctor with a physical therapist. both contact patients to provide diagnoses and treatments for painful conditions. They have extensive, clear knowledge of human anatomy. Most of all, they’re both health professionals that heal with the purpose of helping people push on in life.

Seeing the correct health professional can make all the difference when it comes to recovering from your injury.

When Should A Physiotherapist Be Seen?

Injury Prevention

Customized advice can save you from pain and injury. Physical therapists play an active role here. This is where manual and ergonomic handling alike can come in. Sport-specific drills will also be provided where needed, which can help keep sports injuries at bay.

Injury Rehabilitation

  • Equipment Prescription – Physiotherapists will be able to prescribe a brace, cast or a splint for any re-injury to be prevented. This includes strapping or healing support.
  • Exercise Prescription – Exercise is often an integral part of not only treating musculoskeletal damage but also treating other conditions such as post-stroke gait relearning and postnatal bladder control. Physical therapists are specifically trained so that they can identify exercises to help abnormalities along and prescribe them accordingly. These can include balance, joint movement, muscle strengthening, posture correction and so much more.

Manual Therapy

Massage therapy falls under this category, but physiotherapists know there’s more to that. They have the training for hands-on treatments like dry needling and joint mobilisations, where (and when) needed.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

If the injury appears to be due to the musculoskeletal system (which means it’s affecting your muscles, bones, or joints), it is best to consult a physiotherapist first. Physical therapists are well trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal injuries. Correct diagnosis at an early stage means accurate treatment and a quicker recovery time.


Physiotherapists can refer you to have scans done through bulk billing programs, which means they can refer you to have a certain type of X-ray that can get a diagnosis of your injury. They can also refer you to have a CT Scan, MRI, or ultrasound scan. Different rebates apply when having a scan done through a bulk billing program versus a GP.

When Should A GP Be Seen?

  • Medical Emergency

When there’s suspicion of a serious injury (like a broken bone that will need immediate medical treatment) or severe pain, that means there’s urgency involved. Going to a GP will be in order since it is clearly an emergency.

  • Medications

Doctors can prescribe aids that can help with pain or inflammation. Sometimes, arthritis or joint inflammation will lead to chronic pain flare-ups. In those cases, corticosteroid injections will be prescribed to help with the pain.

  • Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) or Work Injury

If your injury was caused by an accident or during work, you’re much better off obtaining a doctor’s referral first to ensure that you can use relevant work/insurance cover to avoid paying more than necessary for physiotherapy.


When a person ends up with an injury, they can either see a GP or physiotherapist. Some people may not be sure which one to see. The physiotherapist is ideal for the likes of musculoskeletal injuries, scans and injury rehabilitation.

Need a physiotherapist in Bondi Beach? Drop Invigor Health a line today! We won’t just address your pain, we’ll future-proof your body as well.

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