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Physiotherapy 101: Everything You Need to Know

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Patient education is as important as pain management and injury prevention. It applies whether the patient is an elderly adult or a child.

Certain conditions, including stroke and Parkinson’s disease, and recovery after an injury, require long-term treatment to help the patient regain strength and improve their overall well-being. This can be done through physiotherapy.

Physiotherapy is a combination of technology and exercise. It helps patients restore, maximize, and maintain movement, function, and endurance.

What is physiotherapy, and how can it help patients recover from injuries or results of other health concerns? Can you do it at home, and who should you get in touch with to connect with qualified physiotherapists?

Let us go over each aspect of physiotherapy and more.

Physiotherapy – The Definition

Physiotherapy is a holistic treatment that helps restore the function and movement of a patient affected by a disability, illness, or injury. It is also used to prevent or reduce your risk of illness or injury in the future.

Physiotherapy can be done for people of all ages with varying health problems, including the lungs, heart, brain, and bones.

Physiotherapists – Their Roles and What They Do

Physiotherapists are health experts who do not focus on one or two scopes of an illness or injury but on the whole body. They have undergone training to perform hands-on clinical measures to diagnose, assess, and treat disability or injury.

Physiotherapy extends beyond the assessment of the health concern in a holistic approach. Physiotherapy treatment will look if there are further injuries, such as neck pain, spinal cord injury, knee pain, back pain, reduced mobility, neurological conditions, musculoskeletal problems, spinal conditions, and other discomforts.

Once the physiotherapists have completed a thorough assessment and have found the root cause of the problem, they can draw a treatment plan to deal with the pain, post-surgery recovery, injury management, strengthening exercises, vestibular rehabilitation, and healing process.

They will look into all the factors, including your mobility, conditions of the joints, muscles, and body, pain, and other individual concerns and needs. After taking into consideration all these, your physiotherapist will design physiotherapy treatments, post-surgery rehabilitation, exercises, and other techniques you have to do to speed up your recovery and healing.

What are the Physiotherapist Techniques?

Physiotherapists apply different techniques and approaches in managing and treating the conditions of their patients. Deciding which procedures to follow will depend on the concern of the patient and what needs to be addressed.

Here’s a look at the common physiotherapy techniques and treatment methods used by physiotherapists in dealing with a variety of health conditions:

Traction

It’s a manual technique to relieve pressure from the spine by distracting and stretching the area. The treatment is intended to deal with the cause of pain in the vertebral discs. It is done by changing the disc-nerve interface.

This physiotherapy technique treats back pain, pinched nerves, degenerative disc ailments, sciatica, and herniated discs.

The efficiency of mechanical traction in dealing with chronic or acute lower back pain (non-specific) is still being debated in the industry. Despite this, many physiotherapists commonly use the technique as an adjunct or additional modality.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound has other uses besides the most common, which is pregnancy, and that includes physiotherapy. Physiotherapists use its therapeutic effects in two forms – non-thermal and thermal.

Thermal ultrasound in physiotherapy boosts blood flow by applying deep heating to soft tissues. Aside from speeding up the tissue repair process, it also improves the healing rate and reduces pain.

Non-thermal ultrasound also speeds up healing using cavitation, or the ultrasound energy makes the expansion and contraction of the tiny gas bubbles surrounding the affected tissues.

Ultrasound’s efficiency in treating patients undergoing physiotherapy depends on the dosage. But there are certain instances when you need to consult other medical experts before undergoing ultrasound, including patients with sensory impairments, fragile skin, cardiac pacemakers, and thromboembolic diseases.

The common ailments where physiotherapists apply ultrasound as part of the healing and recovery process include tightness of the joints, ligament damage, tendonitis, shoulder pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique used by physiotherapists to insert acupuncture or fine needle into the muscle and skin. The process restores muscle activation while reducing pain.

Aside from pain relief, the process restores muscle strength, especially in ailments including stroke and lower back pain. The effectiveness of this physiotherapy technique varies among individuals. It also depends on how accurate the physiotherapist is in locating the myofascial trigger points of their patients.

Hydrotherapy

The hydrotherapy technique aims to relieve pain by doing exercises suited to patients. They get into a shallow pool with warm water ranging from 33 to 36 degrees C.

The water’s temperature helps in easing joint pains and relaxes the muscles. Water resistance will also help patients in their recovery as it improves blood circulation while boosting muscle strength.

Hydrotherapy allows patients to do exercises they couldn’t otherwise perform outside the pool without injuring their joints further. A physiotherapist commonly uses this process in dealing with a patient with arthritis.

Manual Therapy

In physiotherapy, manual therapy is used when patients suffer from an injury that limits their physical activity. It is for people with ligament injuries, damage to the soft tissue, or those in need of vestibular rehabilitation.

The process manipulates and mobilizes joints and tissues, increase the patient’s range of motion, and boosts their tissue extensibility.

This kind of therapy is done by those who have undergone training since it utilizes skilled hands rather than equipment for pain and injury management.

Exercise and movement

Physiotherapists will design activities and exercises suited to the needs of their patients to speed up their recovery and make it easier for them to handle pain. You may be prescribed physical exercises that can help you improve coordination and balance, strengthen muscles, and increase the range of motion.

Physiotherapy – Who Is It For?

Physiotherapy can benefit people of all ages suffering from a range of health conditions. It’s a form of rehabilitation and treatment intended to cure injuries and improve a patient’s mobility.

Physiotherapy is an effective process for pain relief, especially for those who have suffered from sports injuries, neck pain, shoulder pain, musculoskeletal conditions, post-surgery symptoms, and other problems affecting general health.

Physiotherapy can be used in treating a wide range of conditions, including patients suffering from the following:

  • Athletes in need of sports physiotherapy – tennis elbow, concussion
  • Damage to the nervous system – Radiculopathy, radicular pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction and other conditions affecting women’s health – common women’s health concerns, such as lymphedema, urinary incontinence
  • Pediatric physiotherapy – muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, developmental delays
  • Respiratory – bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma
  • Cardiovascular – rehabilitation after a stroke, post-myocardial infraction, chronic heart disease
  • Neuromusculoskeletal – temporomandibular joint disorders, rotator cuff tears, whiplash-associated disorder, sports injuries, muscle strain, arthritis, shoulder pain, balance problems, falls
  • Neurological – cervical myelopathy, neuromuscular disorders, traumatic brain injuries, vestibular dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke
  • Rehabilitation after amputation

How Does Physiotherapy Aid in Recovery?

Your body needs to move to keep it strong and to get things done. As you move, your breathing and heart rate becomes deeper and faster, your joints bend, and your muscles work.

All these are essential in sustaining respiratory health, blood circulation, mobility, speeding up the recovery process, and boosting the strength of your muscles and joints.

So how do you get well when you’re sick and find it hard to move? It’s okay to rest; your body needs it to recover. However, too much rest can also make you weaker. Your repair tissue may become stiff, and your muscles may become imbalanced and weak.

Reducing your physical activity when you are not feeling well is okay. But listen to your physiotherapist on the movements and exercises you can do that won’t strain your body or worsen your condition.

Elderly adults with limited mobility need to move and exercise regularly as well. This is to avoid walking impairment, balance problems, and depression.

Is It Safe to Do Physiotherapy at Home?

As long as you get the services of trained and licensed physiotherapists, you are assured of safety when getting it done at home. They are trained to assess young or old patients before asking them to perform physical activities and exercises to help them recover and heal.

After meeting with the patient, your physiotherapist will discuss the program suited for them. Aside from being easily accessible, home therapy is achievable and functional.

Many of the activities designed for home therapy won’t require special equipment. Your physiotherapist can recommend using whatever’s available, such as chairs or water bottles.

Home therapy is safer for patients who have difficulty going back and forth to the hospitals or clinics.

How Often Should Physiotherapy Be Done?

Your therapist is the best person to ask regarding the frequency. The dosage and frequency will vary on your tolerance to the physical activities and goals.

Understanding and answering your needs is more important than focusing on intensity. However, the activities tend to be more intense in the beginning to speed up recovery.

Your physiotherapist will also decide when to reduce the frequency of your exercises. It will all depend on your improvement and recovery rate.

Final Words

Physiotherapy helps speed up a patient’s recovery and restore movements affected by illnesses or injuries. The therapist will use a holistic approach to assess your condition and guide you through the appropriate activities to aid your progress.

The process is effective, but you must only rely on good services with the right people and complete equipment to get the job done.

RC Caregivers is among the top services in elderly care, including physiotherapy. With us on board, rest assured that your loved ones are in the right hands that will help them toward their recovery and restore their strength.

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