The healthcare profession that diagnosis and treats patients with difficulties doing functional activities is called physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is also known as physical therapy in other countries.
What are the primary goals of physiotherapy?
- Maintain independence of movement
- Alleviate pain
- Enhance physical performance
- Prevent and manage impairments and disabilities
- Significantly improve the patient’s quality of life
- Achieve highest function possible
- Enhance health and overall wellness
When is physiotherapy used?
Physiotherapy has proven helpful for individuals of all ages suffering from different health issues, including those that affect the:
Heart and circulation
Rehabilitation after a heart attack
Breathing and lungs
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis
Soft tissues, bones, and joints
Back, neck, and shoulder pains and sport injuries
Brain and the nervous system
Movement difficulties that result from stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson’s disease.
What are the various kinds of physiotherapy treatments?
Applying heat can expedite healing by enhancing the blood flow to the injury site.
Heat therapy has also been known to help in effectively softening tight tissues and alleviating pain.
Some of the common heating modalities and devices include:
- Paraffin wax bath
- Hot packs
- Infrared heat
Cold Therapy or Cryotherapy
Proven effective in minimizing swelling and pain, this physiotherapy intervention is often the treatment of choice for acute injuries.
It is also employed after a deep kneading massage or DKM.
Classic examples of cold therapy include ice pack application and ice massage.
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises
To maintain and enhance joint flexibility and to reduce stiffness, ROM exercises are considered ideal.
Common range of motion exercises include:
- Passive Range of Motion (PROM) exercises
- Active Range of Motion (AROM) exercises
- Active Assistive Range of Motion (AAROM) exercises
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This type of electrical stimulation uses a small battery-powered device.
It works by sending low current throught the electrodes that are placed on the skin’s surface.
Contrary to what is popularly believed, a TENS device will not cause the muscles to contract.
However, while effective when it comes to relieving pain, the relief it offers is often only temporary.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Also known as therapeutic massage, soft tissue mobilization is often used as part of physiotherapy treatment.
Therapeutic massages have been proven to reduce pain, relax tight muscles, and minimize swelling.
Other prevalent physiotherapy treatments include:
- Joint mobilization
- Ergonomic training
- Assistive device training
- Fitting of Orthosis
What are some conditions and injuries that can benefit from physiotherapy?
This condition occurs when the tendons become inflamed and irritated.
Tendonitis is often attributed to overstretching, overuse, and repetitive movements.
Tendonitis can also be acute or chronic.
If tendonitis does not respond to home-care remedies, the following treatment options might be prescribed.
- Steroid injection
- Supportive brace or strap
ACL tear occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL (situated within the knee joint) becomes partially or completely torn.
ACL tears are very common in athletes involved in highly competitive and intense sports like football, rugby, soccer, and basketball.
Depending on the severity of the condition, any or a combination of the following physiotherapy interventions might be recommended:
- Joint mobilization
- Range of motion (ROM) exercises
- Ice pack or heat application
Wrist sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the wrist bones gets injured.
The injury is often attributed to overstretching of the ligaments or forceful bending.
Telltale indicators of the condition include swelling, bruising, redness, and tenderness.
Wrist sprain interventions include the following:
- Ice or heat packs
- Ultrasound therapy
Essentially, the physiotherapy treatment that will be prescribed will be based on the symptoms, recovery stage, injury severity, and the patient’s overall goals.