What is better physical therapy or BAMS

physical therapy | How to find the right expert

Every second person in Germany regularly complains of joint or back problems. In 20 percent of the population, the symptoms are already chronic, i.e. have been present for more than three months. All age groups are affected - from school children to senior citizens.

It is not uncommon for the orthopedic surgeon to prescribe physiotherapy. But it can also help with breathing difficulties, multiple sclerosis or incontinence - if the therapist knows what he is doing!

Ulrike Steinecke, physiotherapist and chairwoman of the German Association for Physiotherapy, explains the most common mistakes made by physiotherapists at BILD.de and how you can find the right expert for you.

How Do I Know a Good Physiotherapist?


At the first meeting, the therapist takes time for a comprehensive diagnosis, and can also explain the living conditions (office job?, Sports muffle?) In detail. Together with the patient - and ideally in consultation with the doctor - it is considered how the therapy should proceed. Steinecke: "The therapist also gives the patient certain homework, that is, exercises that he or she can easily do on their own at home."

Consider it: The special exercises and targeted training are designed to relieve tension and stretch and strengthen the muscles. If you do not see any improvement or even worsening after several sessions with the therapist, something is wrong. Then it's better to see another physiotherapist.

Which complaints does physiotherapy help?

Frequently occurring diagnoses are back pain, sciatica, herniated discs, osteoarthritis, strokes or incontinence. Physiotherapy can also be helpful for injuries to the spine, joints and muscles, after operations or diseases of the brain and nervous system (e.g. Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis). It is also prescribed for cardiovascular and respiratory problems, lung diseases or asthma, and can also support the healing process as an accompanying therapy for mental illnesses.
In addition, physiotherapists look after athletes during training and competition phases or advise people at their workplace, e.g. with regard to correctly adjusted office chairs, desks or screens. These are the most common reasons for neck tension or headaches, especially in people who work a lot while sitting.

Some areas of application of physiotherapy

  • Incontinence

    Physiotherapy has developed a special program to relieve or even overcome stool and urinary incontinence. It aims to strengthen the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles. With the help of the so-called "pelvic floor school", therapists create an individual exercise program for each patient.

  • stroke

    A common consequence of the stroke is paralysis of the arms and legs (extremities). Since they can vary in severity, there is a specific treatment option for every special problem: for example, supportive treadmill therapy to relearn how to run or improving balance with the help of special exercises. Individual treatments allow those affected to regain their mobility and independence.

  • Back pain

    Special exercises and targeted training relieve tension, stretch and strengthen the muscles. And so fight the evil at the root. Many physiotherapists offer professional back training - even for children. Physiotherapy also provides relief in the case of sciatica or a herniated disc. After a back operation or an accident, it helps those affected to get back on their feet.

  • arthrosis

    In the case of acute complaints, the focus is on relieving pain, for example with cold therapy or electrotherapy (applications with electrical currents). Exercise without stress, for example in warm water, is helpful. With manual therapy (treatment with the hands) the physiotherapist can relieve the joints. Special equipment training strengthens the weakened muscles. The patients also receive professional guidance on what to look out for in everyday life.

  • Asthma, COPD

    Special positioning techniques make it easier for the patient to breathe deeply. The physiotherapist can use appropriate grips and movements to ensure better blood circulation and mobility of the chest. Through breathing and relaxation exercises, patients learn to deal with acute attacks and to better remove secretions.

  • Fall prevention

    Physiotherapists offer special courses on fall prevention: "Stuheart prophylaxis B.ewegungsschulung “(short: StuBs). The aim is to train coarse and fine motor coordination and also to train sensorimotor skills, sensitivity and a sense of balance. Coordination is trained through ball games and so-called multitasking movements - in which several activities are carried out at the same time. In simulated everyday situations, the participants also practice moving around a crowd without accidents. Therapy in groups is very important: it trains communication behavior. In this way, those affected learn to participate in social life without fear.

But also physically active people often end up with a physiotherapist!

Steinecke: “Sport and fitness training can also trigger pain if the intensity and frequency are incorrect, as well as physical limitations. Common mistakes are: too fast, excessive stress, incorrect execution of the exercises and excessive ambition.

Does physiotherapy always pay the cash register?

Steinecke: “The applications are mainly based on a doctor's prescription. In the statutory health insurance, insured persons have to pay a prescription fee of ten euros and ten percent of the prescription value as a fee. The cash register takes care of the rest. When concluding the insurance contract, privately insured persons should ensure that the costs for physiotherapy are paid in full by the health insurance company. As a rule, however, this is the case. In addition to services based on a doctor's prescription, there are also counseling and prevention services. Some are subsidized by the health insurance fund, such as back exercises or relaxation training. My recommendation: Ask at the cash desk before the start of the course about a cost assumption. "

What can I do so that I never end up with the physiotherapist?

Steinecke: “More exercise, less stress and better nutrition. For everyone who does a sedentary job (office job), the posture should vary as often as possible. Make phone calls while standing, use your lunch break for a short walk, do stretching exercises for the muscles of the fingers and hands and keep stretching out your fingers and opening your hands completely to compensate for working with the computer mouse and keyboard.

Important in sport: Movement should be fun. Because this is the only way to be and remain motivated. Untrained people should initially increase the load slowly. Also set your goal in advance: Endurance sports such as running, cycling, walking or strength endurance training are best for losing weight. Are you more of a game and team athlete? So that you are really fit on the tennis court or when playing football with colleagues, you should first do eight to twelve weeks of strength endurance and basic training so that your body does not suffer from the effects of endurance sports for days.

Background back pain