The healthcare profession that helps diagnose, treat, assess, and prevent disease and disability through physical means is known as physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is also known as physical therapy in other countries.
Experts in function and movement are called physiotherapists.
Physiotherapy works by restoring movement and function in individuals affected by disability, illness, or injury.
Physiotherapists employ different treatment and preventative approaches. However, the treatment approach used will depend on the condition being treated.
Three key approaches are used in physiotherapy.
The 3 main approaches are movement and exercise, manual therapy, and education and advice.
Who can benefit from Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is beneficial for patients with medical conditions that affect the following:
- Lungs and breathing – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.
- Soft tissues, joints, and bones – shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain, and sports injuries.
- Brain or the nervous system – movement difficulties that are attributed to stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson’s disease.
- Heart and circulation – rehabilitation for those patients who survived a heart attack
What are the Key Goals of Physiotherapy?
- Retain movement independence
- Provide pain relief
- Prevent and manage impairments and disabilities
- Achieve highest possible function
- Enhance the patient’s life quality
- Improve physical performance
- Improve overall health and wellness
What are some of the Most Common Physiotherapy Treatments?
Applying heat can help facilitate faster healing as it helps enhance the blood flow at the injury site. It can also help soften tight tissues and provide pain relief.
Some of the most common heating modalities and devices are:
- Infrared heat
- Paraffin wax bath
- Hot packs
Cold Therapy or Cryotherapy
Proven effective in minimizing both the pain and swelling, cold therapy is often the likely resort when treating acute injuries. It is often employed after a DKM (deep kneading massage).
Cold therapy examples include ice pack application and ice massage.
ROM (Range of Motion) Exercises
Range of motion exercises are typically recommended to maintain / enhance joint flexibility and lessen stiffness.
Common range of exercises examples include:
- PROM (Passive Range of Motion) exercises
- AROM (Active Range of Motion) exercises
- AAROM (Active Assistive Range of Motion) exercises
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Otherwise known as therapeutic massage, soft tissue mobilization is often considered an integral part of physiotherapy treatment.
Therapeutic massages are not only effective in relaxing tight muscles, it has also been proven to lessen swelling and minimize pain.
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
With the use of a small and battery-powered device, TENS works by sending low current. The current passes through electrodes that are placed on the skin’s surface.
While proven to relieve pain, it should be noted that pain relief provided is only temporary.
Other Physiotherapy Treatments
- Ergonomic training
- Joint Mobilization
- Fitting of Orthosis
- Assistive Device Training
- Balance Exercises
What are some of the Conditions and Injuries that can benefit from Physiotherapy?
Tendonitis occurs when the tendons become irritated and inflamed. This condition can also be attributed to overstretching, overuse, and repetitive movements.
When unresponsive to home remedies, the following physiotherapy approaches are recommended:
- Supportive brace or strap
- Steroid Injection
When ligaments supporting the wrist bones are injured, it can result to wrist sprain. This kind of injury is often attributed to overstretching of the wrist ligaments.
Common physiotherapy treatments for the condition include:
- Ice packs or heat
- Ultrasound Therapy
When the ACL ligament becomes partially or completely torn, the condition is called ACL tear. This type of injury is often seen in athletes who are involved in high-intensity sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and rugby.
Depending on the condition’s severity, one (or a combination) of the following physiotherapy interventions may be recommended:
- Joint mobilization
- Ice pack or heat application
- Range of motion (ROM) exercises