Physiotherapy deals with the function of the body’s muscles and skeleton. So, anything involving movement and the ability to move is something that a physiotherapist can help you with. This includes recovering from a physical illness, injury or disability. The objective of every physiotherapy session is to ensure that patients can regain their normal functional abilities using a number of natural techniques like exercise, motivation, education and the latest therapeutic equipment. Physiotherapy treatment can only and should only be done by a certified and experienced health care professional who has an in depth knowledge of physiology, anatomy, and neuroscience. It is only then that a therapist can first diagnose, then treat and rehabilitate a patient that has a physical disorder. Many therapists like to treat the body as a whole rather than paying attention to just specific causes of illness and injury.
Techniques used by Physiotherapists
In order to realize its goal a therapist will use a number of different techniques and approaches. He will also use a combination of techniques depending on the condition. Below we look at four primary techniques used.
This is also commonly referred to as mobilization. The technique utilizes the hands of a therapist in order to mobilize the affected joints and soft tissues. A therapist will use manual pressure to mobilize joints and reduce pain which is often a result of muscle spasms or stiffness. Manual physiotherapy is known to be effective at treating musculoskeletal issues like back pain, neck and shoulder pain. This approach is preferred because:
- It helps to improve blood circulation throughout the body
- It enhances movements of the affected parts
- It helps to drain fluid from various body parts
- It reduces discomfort and pain
Therapeutic exercises happen to play a major part in physiotherapy. Almost all physiotherapists use a combination of exercises and medicines as part of their treatment plan. Exercises can be used in two ways i.e. during the recovery phase which works best for sports injuries and the second being in order to strengthen weak muscles that prevent proper movement. People recovering from conditions like paresis, stroke and injuries are often put on a regime of regular therapeutic exercises for a certain period of time.
Electrotherapy is often used by therapists to promote muscle contraction, which in turn reduces pain as well as encourages healing. This type of therapy is often referred to as shock therapy mainly because small electric charges are used to excite the body’s nervous system which then causes contractions. This type of therapy can be administered using a number of different types of equipment which include ultrasound, TENS, Short Wave Diathermy, and lasers. It is important to note that electrotherapy does not hurt or cause discomfort. The only thing that patients may feel is a tingling sensation but only when TENS is used.
Hydrotherapy uses water in order to aid in the recovery process. This type of therapy is often carried out in small, shallow pools filled with warm water or a specialized hydrotherapy pool. Usually, this type of therapy is best suited for adults and kids alike who have both learning and physical difficulties. Experts and researchers have found that hydrotherapy relieves pain in certain cases but it may not be a solely best pain relieving technique. However, it does help to improve blood circulation as well as relax contracted muscles.
Physiotherapy treatment often uses a combination of all the techniques mentioned above. However, doctors advise that these techniques will not have the desired effect if the right lifestyle changes are not made. So, if a person suffers from a condition like spondiylitis, he not only needs regular physiotherapy sessions in order to recover but he needs to make a concerted effort to maintain good posture when standing, sitting and sleeping. The patient’s own involvement plays a big role in his recovery. Without making these small and often significant lifestyle changes it will be difficult for anyone to recover. That said the chances of the condition resurfacing is also pretty high, which means more pain, time and money spent which is obviously not a desired outcome especially since it can clearly be prevented.
Mark Kiss is a sports therapist and a physiotherapist by profession. He currently works with some of the leading names in the sports industry.