Patients are often unsure of whether they should be seeing a physiotherapist or bio for their problems, and which one they should visit first. Physiotherapists are well trained in exercise prescription, particularly with regard to pathology, pain and injury.

According to the HPCSA Scope of Practice for Biokinetics, Biokinteticists are healthcare professionals that use exercise as a means of rehabilitation. The scope document clearly states that Biokineticists may provide “rehabilitation and care in the final stage of chronic diseases of lifestyle, and orthopaedics where conditions are well controlled, the patient stabilized and in the absence of pain, swelling, inflammation, systemic complications, abnormal/restricted range of movement or abnormal function”. Further to this, Biokineticists are therefore not permitted to work in an acute hospital environment, nor to provide any manual treatment techniques or electro-physical treatment modalities.

Physiotherapists, on the other hand, are healthcare professionals that are able to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients from the acute onset of the disease or injury through to final stage rehabilitation using the different modalities to achieve full function.

So the bottom line is .. see your physiotherapist first if you have pain, swelling, limited movement or inflammation. She will treat you and give you appropriate exercises. Should you then wish to see a bio once your condition has improved, your physio can refer you to the one who will be best for you.