Accidents happen to the best of us. Whether in peak health or a more susceptible state due to a chronic condition, injuries that render workers incapable of fully performing their duties at work are not easy to anticipate.

Being unable to work can, for many people, be a devastating setback. Fortunately, depending on the nature of the injury and the patient’s overall physical health, there are many options for rehabilitation. Often the first step that springs to mind is seeing a physiotherapist for rehabilitation exercises and this is an excellent path to take.

However, in this day and age, there are other options as well and those seeking rehabilitation in order to pass their return to work assessment can now choose from promising alternatives that may better suit their specific needs and the nature of their condition.


In modern medicine and healthcare, physiotherapy is the most widely known alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and surgery though it can, of course, be used in combination with these treatments.

If you are recovering from an operation, a physiotherapist can help you regain physical functionality. However, in certain conditions, physiotherapy may also be available to you as an alternative to undergoing surgery.

A physiotherapist is an accredited health professional who is qualified to use methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise to treat injury, disease, or deformity, depending on the need.

Exercise therapy

While physiotherapists can help you perform exercises to regain strength and functionality in addition to using other forms of treatment, an exercise physiologist concentrates on the analysis and use of physical exercise and lifestyle changes to improve a patient’s overall health.

Like physiotherapists, an exercise physiologist is qualified to help patients suffering from chronic disease or recovering from an injury, as well as any individual--athletic or not--improve their overall health.

You may be able to find an accredited exercise physiologist at a local gym who will act similarly to a personal trainer. However, unlike a personal trainer, exercise physiologists are required to complete a full degree in exercise science and are therefore more qualified to help patients dealing with a variety of medical conditions.

Like a personal trainer, on the other hand, exercise physiologists will help their patients set goals, create a personalised exercise program, adopt lifestyle and behavioural changes, and maintain motivation.


In addition to visiting a physiotherapist’s office or an exercise physiologist at a clinic, gym, or health centre, injured or ill patients seeking to return to work can also consider an alternative environment for performing rehabilitation exercises: water.

Water exercise, or hydrotherapy, is performed in a specially heated pool, often made easily accessible for those with physical limitations. Those who are new to hydrotherapy or suffer from severe health conditions can be guided through these exercises with a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist.

However, water exercise can also be done in groups or classes, both in heated hydrotherapy pools and public aquatic centers depending on the individual’s current capabilities and needs.

Patients who benefit most from hydrotherapy include those suffering osteoporosis, arthritis, and osteoarthritis--conditions in which the bones and joints are weakened and particularly susceptible to injury. People living with severe stages of such conditions are often limited in the exercises they can safely or comfortably perform in a regular gym environment.

However, the benefits of exercise for patients with osteoporosis and arthritis are substantial. Hydrotherapy can be a highly effective means of building strength, improving stability, and increase physical functionality. The heat, buoyancy, and resistance of water provide just the right circumstances for comfortable and effective rehabilitation exercise.