Specialist vs Generalist: Do I Need To See A Specialist Physiotherapist?

Specialist vs Generalist: Do I Need To See A Specialist Physiotherapist?

We often get asked if someone should see a physiotherapist that specialises in a certain injury or condition, such as a specialised physio, or just a general physio.

This is a really common question, and we are sure it crosses the mind of many people who are suffering from pain or injury.

There is a difference between specialist physiotherapists and generalist physiotherapists, and we can help you with when you need to see one, and when you need to see the other.


What is a specialist physiotherapist?

A specialist physiotherapist is someone who's undergone extra tertiary education on top of their bachelors degree.

They've achieved the highest degree of education and expertise in their chosen field of sports physiotherapy or manual physiotherapy, which means that they are an expert in this field.

They also become fellows of the Australian College of Physiotherapists.


What is a general physiotherapist?

A general physiotherapist is someone who is totally qualified, because they spent at least four years of full-time university study (and probably $50,000+!) on their education; they are experts in their own right.

Good general physios can treat almost everything, and know when to refer you on.


Our Recommendation

Here's what we recommend - if you have a simple injury, and you're not an elite athlete, but you need to get back to whatever it is that you do as quickly as possible - you should see a general physio.

You should see someone at your local physiotherapy clinic who you know, who you trust, and who you know will do the right thing by you and will help you achieve your goals. 

Good general physios know when to refer you on.

We know our limits and the scope of what we can do, and when we get to the end of that we refer on.

We've got a great network of local expert sports physiotherapists, specialist children's physiotherapists, neurological physiotherapists, and we're happy to refer on when we get to the edge of what we can do and what we know.

You can trust that when you need to get to a specialist we'll get you to a specialist.

For the large majority of problems, a general physiotherapist is happy to help you and can get you back to doing what you love, moving well, and feeling great at as quick as possible.