Musculoskeletal physiotherapy is the term used to describe the field of physiotherapy practice that relates to disorders of the musculoskeletal system.  Physiotherapists who practise in this area are skilled in the assessment, diagnosis and physiotherapy management of musculoskeletal conditions.

The physiotherapy profession recognises the importance of evidence-based practice and actively encourages practitioners to consider the scientific evidence when developing management programs. So what is the evidence for musculoskeletal physiotherapy practice?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists are highly trained in assessing musculoskeletal disorders.  The clinical reasoning processes they employ enable them to reach a diagnosis consistent with the findings of the clinical examination. 


Musculoskeletal physiotherapists have advanced skills in the assessment, diagnosis and management of musculoskeletal conditions.  These skills assist the medical practitioner with accurate, cost-effective diagnosis and appropriate evidence-based management.

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists trained in Australia have world-leading expertise in the effective management of pain and other disorders related to the musculoskeletal system.Physiotherapists are conducting pioneering investigations of the proposed mechanisms contributing to chronic and recurrent low back pain by evaluating the effects of specific exercise programs.  Evidence to support their efficacy is mounting (O’Sullivan et al 1997).  There is very strong evidence that Cognitive Functional Therapy is more effective in the management of chronic low back pain than bed rest, analgesics and massage, with six out of eight trials supporting this evidence (van Tulder et al.).