Health Benefits of Physiotherapy
Many of us will visit more than one health care professional during our lifetime depending on what condition we are suffering from.
If an individual has had undergone major surgery, is recovering from an injury or has an issue with chronic pain, for example, they often need regular visits to a qualified physiotherapist.
Physical therapy is about restoring and maintaining normal function of the body and can have a huge impact on the individual, helping them to recover from an injury or live independently with a disability.
What is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a branch medicine where practitioners use a range of movement and exercise therapy to improve loss of mobility, coordination and strength caused by injury, illness or disability.
- A muscle tear, for instance, might be treated with manual lymphatic drainage, heat and compression to support the natural healing process which is then followed by rehabilitative exercises.
- Chronic pain patients need to understand the reason for their problem. The education of the patient is a very important part of the rehabilitation process.
- Someone who is learning to walk again after a traffic accident, on the other hand, might need to work in an exercise in a pool where their body is supported so they can strengthen muscles and improve mobility gradually.
- Physiotherapy means to support the natural healing process with different passive treatments, exercises and education.
What Problems do Physiotherapists Treat?
The type of therapies utilized and the range of patients a physiotherapist sees can vary considerably. These can include a patient recovering from an operation who needs physical therapy to improve their mobility, aid healing and get them back a better state of physical health.
Some patients have chronic conditions such as back or joint pain where physiotherapy helps improve range of motion, reduce pain and quality of life.
A physiotherapist might help someone after they have suffered a stroke, working with them to return motion following paralysis to certain parts of the body such as the face, arms or legs.
Not all the physiotherapist’s work is reactive to a particular illness or recovery from surgery. They are routinely used in sporting environments to optimise performance and protect against injury. They also help with issues such as pregnancy pain by improving pelvis alignment through exercise and manual therapy.
Obesity is often seen as a result of addiction to food. As weight increases, this can become more profound for the individual. There is some evidence that individuals experience a similar effect to drug addiction with a build-up of tolerance, even to certain foods, and severe withdrawal when that food is limited or removed altogether.
What to Expect from Physiotherapy
A lot will depend on where the individual is visiting a physiotherapist. Some practitioners operate as private businesses, others are part of the overall health care provision for a hospital and have on-site specialist facilities.
The initial consultation is used to discover what the individual’s health needs are and to take a full medical history to determine what therapy is appropriate.
Someone who suffers from chronic joint pain could, for example, be given a massage to ease discomfort or manual therapy where the joint itself is directly manipulated. This sort of treatment will often be combined with exercise regimes to help further improve a person’s condition.
With most physical therapy, several appointments are typically required to achieve the desired effect.
The goal is to find the reason for the problem and not to treat the symptoms.
The Health Benefits of Physiotherapy
- Pain management: People suffer from pain for a variety of reasons including musculoskeletal issues and as the result of an illness or accident. The role of physical therapy is to ease this pain overtime so a person can live more independently and without discomfort.
- Age-related health problems: Older individuals who have osteoarthritis or reduced mobility can benefit from regular physical therapy. Someone who has a joint replaced, for example, will need a period of rehabilitation to accelerate their recovery. Physiotherapy can also be used to strengthen muscles and reduce the risk of falling in very elderly patients.
- Stroke recovery: Suffering from a stroke often means the individual has some level of paralysis or muscle weakness. The role of physical therapy is to improve strength and enable the individual to function as close to normal as possible.
- Injury prevention: Physiotherapy can be used for many common ailments as a first line of attack before considering more major intervention such as surgery. This can include health problems like joint and back pain, helping to improve mobility and strengthen muscles.
- Recovery from surgery: The physiotherapist can help manage recovery following surgery, gently easing the individual back to full mobility or help them to make the most of what movements they are currently able to make.
- Managing lung disease: It’s not just external issues such as mobility that a physiotherapist can help with. They are often involved in helping individuals with lung disease by delivering breathing exercises that improve strength and conditioning.
Physiotherapy treatment is tailored to the individual and, while some conditions may share certain strategies and characteristics, each person’s needs are different. Physical therapy can be both preventative as well as supporting recovery and is an essential part of the healthcare industry.