Introduction:

In the field of healthcare, there are various professionals who play crucial roles in helping individuals recover from injuries, improve their physical well-being, and enhance their overall quality of life. Two such professionals are biokineticists and physiotherapists. While their goals may overlap to some extent, it’s important to understand the unique contributions and approaches of each discipline. In this blog post, we will explore the role of biokineticists and how they differ from physiotherapists.

 

Lets talk training and education first:

BIOKINETICISTS:

  • Biokineticists are movement specialists who focus on exercise-based rehabilitation and the prevention of injuries through specific Patient Reported Outcome Measures and Performance Based Outcome Measures. They undergo a minimum of four years of tertiary education, including theoretical and practical training in extensive human anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, exercise science, and rehabilitation. These Health Care Professionals, have studied how the human body works and moves efficiently. Biokineticists work with various conditions and diseases such as Orthopaedic / Neurological / Metabolic / Children Populations / Cardiac and many different types of conditions. Through specific testing Biokineticists help diagnose musculoskeletal injuries and through proper individualised exercise programming, help treat the injury. Biokineticists are required to be registered with the appropriate professional body in their country, such as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in South Africa.

PHYSIOTHERAPISTS:

  • Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, are healthcare professionals who diagnose and treat various musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. They typically complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree program in physiotherapy, which includes extensive training in anatomy, physiology, pathology, and therapeutic techniques. Physiotherapists understand and have studied other modalities to treat a patient, such as dry needling, shockwave therapy and other treatment options. Physiotherapists must also be registered and licensed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in South Africa.

 

Whats the difference?

While both share similar educational platforms, the area of expertise is completely different. Biokineticists specialise in exercise modification as their treatment plan for patients, while Physiotherapists use other modalities as treatment options for their patients.

 

Scope of Practice:

BIOKINETICISTS:

  • Biokineticists primarily focus on exercise-based rehabilitation and movement retraining. They work with individuals who have suffered injuries, chronic conditions, or musculoskeletal imbalances, helping them regain optimal movement, strength, and functionality. Biokineticists design tailored exercise programs and use various assessment tools to monitor progress and ensure safe and effective rehabilitation.

PHYSIOTHERAPISTS:

  • Physiotherapists have manual therapy, electrotherapy, and other modalities to treat patients. They treat a wide range of conditions, including musculoskeletal, neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular disorders.
  • Physiotherapists employ a variety of techniques, such as joint mobilisation, soft tissue manipulation, and therapeutic exercises, to promote healing, reduce pain, and improve functional abilities.

 

Whats the difference?

Physiotherapists focus on the initial pain / inflammation phase of a patient, where they are used to minimise discomfort and swelling and start with re-gaining the range of motion within a joint or muscle group. Biokineticists follow the phase and use exercise to further treat and strengthen the joint of muscle, allowing the patient to get back to activities of daily living pain free.

 

Conclusion:

While both biokineticists and physiotherapists contribute significantly to the field of rehabilitation and physical well-being, they differ in their training, scope of practice, and treatment approaches. Biokineticists specialise in exercise-based rehabilitation and movement retraining, whereas physiotherapists have a different scope of treatment modalities at their disposal. Depending on your specific needs and condition, consulting with either professional can help you on your journey to recovery and optimal physical function.