Physiotherapy is a branch of therapy that is specifically concerned with the treatment of an injury, disease, or disorder with physical approaches. These approaches include massage, exercise, and physical manipulation rather than invasive medical procedures or the use of medications.
While some people believe that physiotherapists work specifically with athletes on sports-related issues, their patient base is actually much broader. Physiotherapists also work with patients who are in different age groups or demographic categories. They help patients recover from injury, disease, illness, and even some of the effects of aging. Physiotherapists aim to help individuals achieve a higher quality of life through pain relief, increased range of motion, or recovery from damage to the body.
In order to achieve their desired results with the wide range of their patients, physiotherapists must employ a wide range of possible treatments.
There are three basic types of physiotherapy:
- Musculoskeletal – This therapy focuses on the treatment of sprains, strains, arthritis, incontinence, posture problems, workplace injuries, surgery recovery, and many other physical conditions.
- Neurological – This therapy works with issues associated with the brain. Potential injuries include stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal injuries, and Parkinson’s disease.
- Cardiothoracic – This branch of physiotherapy works with issues associated with breathing and can include emphysema, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other cardio-respiratory illnesses.
Physiotherapists work with their patients to develop a personalized treatment plan that best suits their specific needs. Some patients may only require a single treatment style while other patients may require more intensive plans. There are three primary treatment options that physiotherapy uses. However, within those options, there are a variety of additional techniques that your medical professional may use to help you improve your quality of life.
- Manual Therapies – Manual therapies can include joint manipulation or adjustment, manual resistance training or stretching. These therapies are usually conducted in an office setting with hands-on work from your physiotherapist.
- Exercise Therapy – Exercise training focuses largely on strength training, cardiovascular stretching, and re-training proper posture.
- Electrotherapy – Electrotherapy isn’t the electrodes hooked up to your brain that deliver a painful shock anymore. Instead, electrotherapy is used to deliver a gentle current to your affected muscles in order to help promote healing and growth. This category also utilizes laser therapy and ultrasound to help heal and reduce pain.
Many patient’s treatment plans will include a core portion of manual therapy.
- Joint Mobilization – Joint mobilization is designed to relieve joints and get them moving freely again. Joint mobilization is also called the gentle glide technique.
- Physiotherapy Instrument Mobilization (PIM) – This technique utilizes a handheld spring-loaded tool and is used along the spine to help reduce pain and increase mobility.
- Stretching – Stretching exercises help to loosen muscles and tendons that are tight. In a therapy setting, this is to help reduce pain associated with overly tight or shortened tissues and train them into their proper position. Stretching also helps to increase your overall range of motion and can help with overall strength as well.
- Neurodynamics – This technique looks at the nerves and their pathways to identify any areas where the nerve may be damaged or impeded. Adjustments or corrective procedures can be performed to try to restore normal nerve function.
Physiotherapy is another option that patients should consider when developing a treatment plan. These plans can be used for a variety of conditions including disease, illness, traumatic injury, or even routine checkups. If you are considering using a physiotherapist or chiropractor, call today to schedule an initial consultation. It’s never too soon to start feeling better.