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HealthInfo Canterbury

Physiotherapists

NZ Physiotherapy (supplied).png Physiotherapists (or physios) help you improve movement and function lost from an injury or disease. They are able to lodge ACC claims for you and refer you to specialists to look at specific issues.

While they are known for treating injuries, physios can also treat and prevent health problems involving joints, bones, and soft tissues, the heart, the chest and lungs, and the brain and nervous system.

Physios work in hospitals, medical centres, marae, schools, workplaces, communities, and private clinics.

How do I find a physiotherapist?

You can talk to your doctor about being referred to a physio based in a hospital or community clinic, but you can also visit a physio directly.

The Physiotherapy New Zealand website is a great place to find a qualified physio in your area.

What qualifications do physiotherapists have?

Qualified physiotherapists at least have a degree in physiotherapy, but many continue to study to specialise in a specific area of physiotherapy.

Physiotherapists in New Zealand are registered with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand, which is responsible for making sure physiotherapists are qualified, competent, and update their skills frequently.

When should I see a physiotherapist?

There are many conditions that physiotherapy can help with, including:

  • muscle, joint sprains and strains
  • back injuries
  • neck pain
  • breathing problems
  • heart and lung conditions
  • women's health issues
  • recovery and preparation for surgery
  • exercise to improve health and mobility
  • pain problems
  • headaches.

What does it cost to see a physiotherapist?

Hospital visits are free. If you have had an injury the ACC may pay for your treatment, but you will usually have to pay a surcharge. It's always best to contact the provider involved before visiting to talk about costs.

You may be able to claim the cost of physiotherapy through your health insurance.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2017.

Page reference: 169329

Review key: HIPHY-169329