Everything you Need to Know About Physiotherapy
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Most people do not know which health professional to go to when they have functional issues. Visiting a wrong health professional may cause inconvenience, delay healing, or affect an individual’s overall health.
For all kinds of functional issues, you should promptly reach out to a physical therapist. Physical Therapy helps in restoring the normal function of the joints and muscles. Fixing functional issues and relearning mobility is essential for people with disabilities and injuries.
Physical therapy can lower the chances of developing an illness later on, so it is very effective for people at risk of developing altered functions in the future. There is no one type of treatment that a physiotherapist uses on his patient; rather, he focuses on a holistic approach that includes manual therapy, exercises, stretching, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, etc.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists are the healthcare professionals who provide physical therapy services to the patients who need them. A physiotherapist plays a key role in promoting health, rehabilitation, preventing injury and diseases, and treating the underlying painful condition. With years of rigorous training and knowledge, a physiotherapist gains in-hand experience in treating various kinds of disease after assessing and diagnosing the symptoms of illness and disability.
Physiotherapy is a science-backed treatment method that mainly focuses on restoring, maximizing, and maintaining the physical strength, motion, function, and overall health of an individual. A physiotherapist may have different specializations in treating different conditions like obstetric and gynecologic cases, neurological cases, injuries related to sports, etc.
As a patient, what should you expect?
If you have never been to a physiotherapist, it can be intimidating to walk through the door for the first time. You might be worried about what you may experience. There may be a lot of questions going in your mind like – Will it hurt? Will the treatment work? Will it be harmful? However, you should be confident that a professional therapist will discuss and make you part of the process.
Your physiotherapy session may last from 45 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on your condition. Firstly, your physiotherapist will do a subjective assessment to understand your condition better, and he may ask the following questions:
a. Questions related to the condition like how long you are experiencing the symptoms, how it started, what exaggerates the symptoms, and what brings the relief.
b. Questions related to the treatment taken in the past like what kind of drugs you are taking, past medical history or family medical history, etc.
c. Questions related to the quality of life like how the condition affects your day-to-day life, what hobbies are affected by the condition, etc.
Collecting all such information is very important as it will help your physical therapist in knowing more about your existing condition and in devising an effective treatment protocol.
Next, your physical therapist will complete the objective assessment of the patient by physically assessing the condition of the patient. In this step, you will be asked to perform a series of movements to demonstrate any persistent discomfort and stiffness.
In your next session, the physical therapist will try to find out the changes in your condition after the last appointment. Your physiotherapist will perform another objective assessment to determine if any change in the treatment protocol is needed.
During the follow-up session, your physiotherapist will re-assess the condition and decide if you need another appointment or are safe to continue treatment at your home. You won’t be discharged from the treatment unless you are free of symptoms. Some conditions like rehabilitation after ACL injury needs long-term treatment, while other conditions need physiotherapy for only a few days.
What conditions can physical therapy treat?
Physiotherapy can help in various conditions. It mainly focuses on rehabilitation and restoration of the musculoskeletal system. It can also treat conditions related to sports, respiratory, circulatory, and respiratory systems.
Muscle and joint pain – The most common muscle pains are back pain, shoulder pain, and wrist pain, for which physiotherapy can be very helpful. Physiotherapy eases the stiffness and encourages healing by improving the blood supply of the area.
Arthritis is a condition that affects most people in older age. It affects the joints and can impair the mobility of an individual. Physiotherapy can help improve the range of motion of the affected joint and build the strength of the muscles.
Respiratory problems – Physical Therapy involves the exercises and the techniques that help in clearing the chest to make breathing easy (Garrod, 2007). Physical Therapy improves pain and posture to make breathing easier for an individual suffering from respiratory complications like COPD, cystic fibrosis, etc.
Rehabilitation – Rehabilitation is an important process for an individual, especially after a serious injury or any other complex problem. A physiotherapist plays an integral role as part of the rehabilitation team (Wing, 1955). A physiotherapist carries cardiac and pulmonary programs to improve circulation, build strength and restore normal bodily function.
A person with a serious injury may need physical therapy for a prolonged period of time in order to facilitate the healing process and get back to his day-to-day activities.
What techniques are being used in Physiotherapy?
The first thing that a patient should expect after arriving at a physiotherapy center is a comprehensive assessment which includes evaluating the patients’ condition and discussing the treatment goal by a physiotherapist. Once it is done, various techniques are used to improve the condition of the patient; some of them are:
a. Manual Therapy – Manual Therapy works for almost all the condition, and it is considered as the backbone of any treatment plan.
It involves various techniques like passive stretching, joint mobilization, and massage of soft tissues. Manual therapy is very helpful in providing pain relief and increasing joint range of motion, thus reducing joint stiffness (Huijbregts PA.)
b. Therapeutic exercises – After a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s condition, a physiotherapist formulates the plan of therapeutic exercises that can offer relief to the patient by strengthening the muscles around the affected joint or the injury site. Such exercises help an individual get back to the full range of motion and treat painful conditions like back pain, arthritis, etc. An individual is initially taught the exercises in a rehab clinic, which he can further continue at home if needed.
c. Hydrotherapy – Hydrotherapy can also be called aquatic therapy as these include the exercises performed in water like in the tub or swimming pool.
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Hydrotherapy improves muscle strength by allowing you to move freely in the water without any weight. Hydrotherapy improves the flexibility, strength, and endurance of an individual. It assists in recovery from serious injuries (Bartels et al.) (Lori T. Brody, Paula R. Geigle,2009). The exercises are best suited for people who cannot do weight-bearing exercises like walking because of muscle weakness or pain.
d. Electrotherapy – Various modalities are used in Physical Therapy, which helps in reducing the pain. The common modalities used are Laser, Ultrasound, short wave diathermy, TENS, etc (Tim Watson). All modalities work on different principles and are suitable for a variety of conditions.
e. Heat therapy and cryotherapy – Both heat and cold therapy are part of physical therapy. These therapies help in relieving pain, swelling, and stiffness in and around the joints. A physical therapist uses these techniques to provide instant relief to the patient.
You don’t have to handle the recovery on your own while dealing with any illnesses, injuries, or conditions. There are many expert physiotherapists who can help you during acute or chronic injuries that may have impaired your functions. There are a variety of health fields where a physiotherapist can have his specializations like pediatrics, obstetrics, sports, neurology, geriatrics, cardiovascular, orthopedics, post-operative, and many more.
Contact physiotherapists from Progressive Care to get top-notch care and treatment. Once you have contacted an expert from Progressive Care, you should know that you are in capable hands.
1. Garrod, R. (2007, December). Role of physiotherapy in the management of chronic lung diseases: an overview of systematic reviews. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17870457/
2. Wing, M. N. (1955). THE ROLE OF PHYSIOTHERAPY IN REHABILITATION. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 1(4), 176–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0004-9514(14)60901-6
3. Huijbregts PA. Manual therapy. InPain Procedures in Clinical Practice 2011 Jan 1 (pp. 573-596). Hanley & Belfus. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/manual-therapy
4. Bartels et al., Aquatic exercise for the treatment of knee and hip osteoarthritis (Review), The Cochrane Library 2007, Issue 4 (Level of evidence: 1A)
5. Lori T. Brody, Paula R. Geigle (2009) Aquatic Exercise for Rehabilitation and Training. United states of America: Human Kinetics.
6. Tim Watson, Electrotherapy Tidy’s Physiotherapy (Fifteenth Edition), 2013 Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/electrotherapy
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