Kinesiology vs Physiotherapy

by Apr 8, 2021Kinesiology, Physiotherapy

Kinesiology vs Physiotherapy

If you’re a senior who is not involved in activities to continually develop muscle strength and conditioning or someone in your 20s or 30s who has problems with mobility, you should seek healthcare professionals who can help you get back on track.

Whether you want to reduce pain, strengthen muscles and joints, or improve mobility — you should find registered health professionals who can safely and effectively help you with your health goals and improve your quality of life.


Kinesiology definition

Kinesiology is the study of human movement in order to provide information on how they affect health and wellness. Kinesiology combines holistic healing therapies, mostly involving exercise with anatomy and psychology to help improve physical mobility.

Kinesiology typically is a combination of personal training, fitness and exercise programs, evaluating patients’ fitness levels, improving muscle imbalances in the body, and creating custom exercise plans.

During your time with a kinesiologist, they will spend a lot of time educating patients about their condition and understanding the road to recovery and monitoring their progress. A good kinesiologist should spend the time asking you the right questions to gain a complete understanding of your condition and your unique history. They will also make sure that you understand all the complexities of your situation and why they have developed the specific treatment plan just for you.


Physiotherapy definition

Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, restores movement and improves bodily function when a person has an injury, illness, or disability. Physical therapists may specialize in many different areas including general orthopedics (muscles, bones and joint), specific age demographics (such as pediatrics, geriatrics), body areas (eg: hand specialist, pelvic health), specific modalities (acupuncture, intramuscular stimulation – IMS), men’s or women’s health (eg working with women pre and post partum), neurological disorders (such as stroke survivors, multiple sclerosis or parkinson’s disease), sports therapists, cardiovascular specialists (COPD and pulmonary fibrosis), and many more.

Physiotherapists are also adept in assessment and diagnosis of injuries and certain medical conditions. They also have the ability to create custom treatment plans to improve mobility, manage injuries, reduce pain, and prevent injury through therapy, equipment use, and specific exercises.

Many people do not realize that Physiotherapists spend a lot of time educating patients about their condition and understanding the road to recovery and monitoring their progress. A good Physical therapist spends the time asking you the right questions to gain a complete understanding of your condition and history. They will also make sure that you understand all the complexities of your situation and why they have developed the specific treatment plan just for you.

The initial assessment is key to gain a thorough understanding of your unique situation. Your physiotherapist should be asking a multitude of questions not only of your condition, but of your lifestyle and your medical history. Again, this is to gain a complete understanding of the potential root cause of the reason for your visit. However, the complexity of your injury will dictate the level of questions. For example, if you’ve simply rolled your ankle, a slew of questions may not be required. On the other hand, if you’ve got persistent back pain that has bothered you for over a decade, then as you can imagine, more in depth questions will be required. If you feel that your physiotherapist has rushed through the initial assessment, this should raise some concerns that they are not trying to find the root of your problem, but rather looking for a quick fix.

Difference between a kinesiologist and a physiotherapist

A physiotherapist treats acute injuries and more serious medical issues. When the patient becomes more stable, a kinesiologist becomes more important in the subacute and chronic phases. At Westcoast SCI, our Registered Kinesiologists are also equipped with personal training knowledge

Physiotherapists can prescribe x-rays and diagnose diseases. For example, problems resulting from multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease can be diagnosed by physiotherapists. Kinesiologists detect and correct imbalances related to stress, minor injuries, or nutrition.

Physiotherapists sometimes use passive techniques in their treatment. Modalities such as dry needling (intramuscular stimulation – IMS) or acupuncture, ultrasound, or joint manipulations. However, at Westcoast SCI, we believe in an active approach to physiotherapy. As a result, we often rely on movement based therapies where the patient is actively involved in their treatment, rather than the passive modalities listed above in their road to recovery. However, at Westcoast SCI, many of our therapists have specialized training in advanced manipulations, acupuncture, IMS and other techniques that may be used in your treatment. Kinesiologists will typically rely on active based treatment strategies such as range of motion and mobility techniques or progressive therapeutic exercises to treat injuries.

A degree in kinesiology and physiotherapy is required to practice these professions, including registration and license in a professional body (or college) for each of these disciplines. Some areas require completion and a Master’s degree, and many hours of specialized courses and certification, depending on the scope of practice. Like other healthcare professionals (occupational therapists, mental health nurses, etc.), some provinces also require the kinesiologist to be a member of provincial kinesiology associations. At Westcoast SCI, all of our Kinesiologists are registered with the British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists

Does kinesiology really work?

The scope of kinesiology is to help educate people about safe and effective human movement. For people who need help understanding how to best move their bodies (exercise), kinesiologists are extremely effective.

Determining muscular and strength imbalances and their effects on the body’s structural, emotional, and chemical energy takes years of study. Most patients claim that not only their physical health, but also their mental health has improved by feeling light-hearted and motivated after a kinesiology session.

Search for success stories online of patients who visited kinesiology healthcare professionals if you’re interested in visiting one near you.

What exactly does a kinesiologist do?

A kinesiologist studies movement to reduce chronic pain or stiffness through different therapies and offers practical solutions to change common health problems.

For example, you decide to visit a registered kinesiologist because of your low energy. When you visit the clinic, a kinesiologist will do a complete health and wellness assessment. The health professional may advise you on nutrition, including what food to avoid. He or she may advise physical therapy, counselling services and even focusing on your breathing and mental health by helping you release painful and negative emotions.

Some other interventions include exercise therapy, active health and fitness, and disability case management. It’s best to seek kinesiologists who are members of provincial kinesiology associations. The British Columbia Association of Kinesiologists (BCAK) is where you can find more information about the scope and practice of kinesiologists in BC. Members of this association carry the proper insurance and have proven their knowledge in order to become members in good standing. Another benefit from using Registered Kinesiologists with BCAK is that they have to take a number of courses each year (otherwise known as continuing education) in order to keep their annual registration.

What exactly does a physiotherapist do?

At any age, physiotherapy can treat a lot of health conditions and medical complications, including pain (back pain, neck pain, sports injuries, and shoulder pain), stroke and paralysis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease (movement problems), heart attack and circulation problems, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Treatments commonly include range of motion (ROM) exercises, soft tissue mobilization, heat therapy, electrotherapy, and kinesio taping. Other treatments that a physiotherapist can do to promote healing is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and ultrasound or use of sound waves to treat deep tissue injuries.

In addition, physiotherapists give education and advice, manual therapy, advice on instructing correct exercise form, water therapy, and manual therapy. Some physiotherapists (who have completed training plus a university education) may also do acupuncture and other specialty offerings.

What to expect from a kinesiology session?

If it’s your first time visiting a kinesiologist, you’ll be emailed an intake form before your appointment so that your therapist will be better prepared to work with you. The information contained in the intake form will include the reason for your visit, past medical history, lifestyle questions and your goals of working with a kinesiologist. On your first kinesiology session, your healthcare provider will also ask follow up questions and take a detailed history.

When you have specific goals (fitness goals, weight loss, injury rehabilitation, etc), your kinesiologist will be better able to advise you on how to best achieve your desired result. If you don’t know your specific goals but have complaints of pain or mobility, your kinesiologist may use muscle testing and design a program for you.

What to expect from a physiotherapy session?

When you visit a physiotherapist in British Columbia, Canada, you’ll fill out a detailed intake form and possibly other outcome measuring tools (a neck disability index for example). The physiotherapist will also ask you questions during your initial assessment: What is your complaint? Where is your pain? When did your pain start? Does the pain change throughout the day? What activities do you do that improve the pain?

During the session, the registered professional will assess and evaluate on how you respond to some treatments like stretching muscles, loosening joint structures, or supporting a limb. After your first session, your body may experience some soreness for a few hours. During your initial assessment, your physiotherapist determines the best course of action, provides a detailed treatment plan including a home exercise program and also estimates how long your recovery will take.

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