8 Myths about physiotherapy and physiotherapy jobs busted

People who work in physiotherapy jobs are those that help others affected by physical issues such as injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists use exercise, movement tactics and manual therapy to reduce pain and discomfort in their patients. People will either employ the services of a physiotherapist on their own free will or be referred by professionals working in medical jobs or sport management jobs.

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When physiotherapy started, it didn’t have much scientific backing behind it, so the profession was classed as pseudoscience. This could not be any farther from the truth. Due to this perception, a number of myths have been made up over the years. The below list highlights and dispels some of these myths.

8 myths about physiotherapy and physiotherapy jobs busted:

1. Myth: Physio is unnecessarily painful

The whole point of physiotherapy is to minimize pain and discomfort for the patient, this includes chronic or long-term problems. There is an element of pain involved as, like using any injured muscle, you will have to move the affected area which will cause discomfort. Physiotherapists are trained to work within your pain threshold to help you heal, restore the functioning of the affected muscle and help with movement. The pain that you feel is necessary to heal the muscle or joint. It is also in very quick and tolerable bursts, with plenty of warning from the therapist.


2. Myth: The type of mattress you sleep on prevents back pain

Most of us will suffer from back pain at some point in our lives. We are often told that the mattress we use has something to do with this, but the truth is that there is no high-quality clinical research that has been done to link back pain and the mattress you sleep on. The mattress might very well play a role but there is just no proof to back this up. If a mattress company, or anyone else for that matter, tell you that their mattress will stop back pain, this is a marketing tool and nothing more.

3. Myth: Physiotherapy is just a bunch of exercises

This myth is probably rooted in the lay man’s inability to see a seemingly pointless exercise as being beneficial to recovery. There are a lot of techniques that are used in physiotherapy jobs that may seem trivial but they are proven to help the healing process. A physiotherapist will assess the patient, diagnose the issue and come up with a proper plan of action to fix the ailment. They will perform specific movements, stretches and exercises for a purpose. Nothing is arbitrary or pointless.


4. Myth: Physio is only for sports people

Sports jobs are physically demanding and this means that a lot of a physiotherapist’s patients will be sports people. This is only a result of the sports person’s daily activities being very physical in nature and not because they are the only people the physiotherapists treat. Sport and recreation jobs are probably the biggest causes of physical strain, so many individuals that need physiotherapy just happen to be sports people.

That being said, there are physiotherapists who specialize in treating injuries caused by sport and recreation jobs. To specialize in sport you need to first get your BSc Physiotherapy and then you can specialize later on in your career. We will go into more depth on how to become eligible to apply for physiotherapy jobs later in this article.

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5. Myth: You should wear a neck brace if you have a whiplash neck injury

You will often see people putting on a neck brace right after a car accident. Celebrities are notorious for this practice. The truth is that unless there is a significant fracture, and not just whiplash, research has found that wearing a brace can actually be detrimental. The brace limits your normal neck movements and any injury besides a fracture needs this natural neck movement to recover properly. Next time you hurt your neck, consult your doctor before putting on that brace.


6. Myth: Rest is best for back pain

This myth has caused a lot of problems for medicine as a whole. People with back problems should actually try to stay mobile and active. Those working in medical jobs recommend even a small walk or some light core exercises to keep your back in its recovery process. Keeping active strengthens the affected muscles in your back that keep you upright and promotes better form and posture. Not only will the exercise improve your healing time, but actually minimize any further back issues because you are correcting your posture – the cause for many back ailments in the first place.

7. Myth: Physical therapy is only for accidents and injuries.

Physical therapists don’t just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. Physiotherapists are also very skilled at diagnosing and investigating potential problems before they occur. They can stop small issues from leading to more serious injuries or disabling conditions. They are also able to treat chronic illnesses like arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Any muscle related conditions can be made less bothersome by a Physiotherapist.

8. Myth: Physiotherapy is considered an ‘’art’’ and not backed by science

A lot of people consider physiotherapy jobs to be pseudoscience, something that is not really backed by modern science. You will have people saying things like ‘’I don’t believe in physiotherapy’’ or thing like ‘’I don’t believe physiotherapy will help me’’.


Physiotherapy is a legitimate science that has its roots in medical science. In fact, famous physicians such as Hippocrates and Galenus were known to use many physio techniques such as massage and hydrotherapy. The profession is strictly monitored by governing bodies and people practicing this profession must undergo rigorous training before they can become licensed to practice. All activities are quantifiable and patients’ improvements are measured and documented. There is no guesswork or ‘witchcraft’ at play here.

How to become a Physiotherapist

If we have dispelled some myths in your mind about this profession and you are now thinking of pursuing physiotherapy jobs, then you will need to do the following:

In order to work as a physiotherapist in South Africa, one needs to obtain a BSc in Physiotherapy. This is a four year, full time degree which can be obtained at any of South Africa’s universities, such as Wits or UCT. In the fourth year of this course, students will be expected to complete Physiotherapy research projects, fulfilling the requirements of an Honours degree. This is normally done via community service or outreach programs where the student will get hands-on training.


Once you complete your BSc in Physiotherapy, you can then register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Physiotherapist. From here you can specialize in many different sectors including Sports Physiotherapy and Acupuncture.

Already qualified and looking for physiotherapy jobs in South Africa? Register your CV on Job Mail today and start applying. Sport jobs to medical jobs are in need of qualified physiotherapists, and you will find it on www.JobMail.co.za.

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