In today’s fast-paced world, finding the time to stay fit and active is more important than ever. There are numerous things that get in the way of your ability to exercise, whether recovering from an injury, not finding the time amongst family and professional life obligations, or even just a lack of motivation.
As far as injuries go, one of, if not the best ways to help you get through and recover is physiotherapy. Physiotherapists use exercises and techniques to help with pain relief and improved flexibility and range of motion, which is excellent for not only helping you recover from injuries but ensuring that you heal correctly, limiting long-term damage.
Staying active isn’t just about getting fit—it’s about feeling good! Physiotherapy can help you maintain or return to activity levels by helping you address some of the reasons you may be in pain.
What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a branch of healthcare that aims to treat and prevent injury, illness, and disease by helping the body work more efficiently. It can help people with injuries, conditions, or disabilities by working in conjunction with the body’s own repair systems to correct any problems with movement or function.
Physiotherapy may be used to help manage orthopedic conditions such as back pain, arthritis, or tendonitis; neurological conditions such as dizziness or vertigo; or musculoskeletal conditions such as knee sprains or sports-related injuries. Some of the treatment techniques used by physiotherapists may include massage therapy, joint mobilisation, exercise therapy, acupuncture, shockwave therapy, and more.
Who is a physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a qualified and registered health professional who generally works to help people overcome and/or manage injuries and ailments that cause pain, stiffness, or other health problems. Physiotherapists are trained in various disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, and clinical diagnostics. They also have a background in manual therapy—which means they use hands-on techniques to treat patients’ injuries as well as using equipment such as shockwave therapy, acupuncture, and more.
Physiotherapists help people who have suffered an injury, illness, or condition to recover from their physical difficulties by working with them to achieve their goals. The physiotherapist works closely with the patient to understand their medical history, lifestyle, symptoms, and goals for treatment. They then use this information to develop a specific treatment plan to help the patient reach their desired outcome.
What conditions do physiotherapists treat?
Physiotherapists treat a wide range of conditions, some of which are relatively common, while others are rare and may require special attention. It may be recommended to you by another health professional or you may make the decision yourself to enlist the services of a physiotherapist.
The most common conditions physiotherapists treat include:
This includes conditions such as knee and hip injuries, shoulder injuries, back and neck pain, and ankle injuries. These are all treated by physiotherapists with a view to helping patients return to their normal activities as soon as possible. Sometimes this can involve referral for medical imaging (X-ray or ultrasound scans), or referral to another medical provider including sports doctors, pain specialists, and orthopedic surgeons.
Posture and movement disorders
Physiotherapists treat movement disorders and biomechanical issues by advising on exercises to help improve mobility in the affected joints, which may have been damaged by injury or disease. This may include strengthening exercises for the associated muscles in a number of settings including home, rehab, or gym-based environments. Stretching exercises can be used to help achieve symmetry and improve the quality of movement. Balance exercises are often used to improve stability and ensure safe movement patterns. Relaxation techniques are designed to help patients manage pain, recover the following exercise and improve their quality of life. This can be particularly important when dealing with more chronic long-term conditions.
Before and after surgery
Physiotherapists work closely with other health professionals including sports doctors, pain specialists, and orthopedic surgeons. Often the physiotherapist will have observed surgery and will have a strong understanding of the recovery process. Physiotherapists will often work in the same building or are closely connected to other health professionals and can sometimes refer patients for a second opinion if the recovery is not progressing. If you’ve had surgery and need help getting back on your feet, then a physiotherapist can help. They can assess your condition, develop an individualized treatment plan, and help you manage pain and regain mobility as quickly as possible.
Improving physical performance
A physiotherapist can help you improve your physical performance by improving joint mobility and strengthening muscles required for certain sports or pursuits. Physiotherapists work closely with high-level athletes and sports organizations to not only help diagnose, treat and manage injuries but also to improve performance and results.
A physiotherapist can help prevent injuries by providing help to treat injuries before they happen. They can also help you identify your triggers for injury so that you can avoid them in the future. There is a growing body of research in the field of injury prevention and it is now known that the risk of many injuries with the correct advice exercise prescription and management can be reduced significantly. In a high-level sporting environment, it is extremely valuable to avoid injury so that performance can be maintained.
As we age, naturally our bodies change—but it doesn’t have to be in the wrong way! Physiotherapists can work with older patients who want to stay active, have better mobility, feel more substantial, and have a better quality of life in their golden years.
Balance is often an issue that affects people as they age. A physiotherapist can help balance exercises by improving muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.
As we age, our muscles become weaker and less flexible. A physiotherapist can help restore the muscles we lose due to age and disease, improve our flexibility and balance, and help prevent further loss.
Chronic health conditions
A physiotherapist can provide support and help with managing a wide variety of chronic health conditions. This type of physiotherapy care is often seen in hospitals, rest homes, and special care units. The conditions that are often managed with the support of physiotherapy include emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attacks, Diabetes Mellitus, and more.
Physiotherapists work in a number of settings to provide support and rehabilitation for people who have had a stroke, or some other form of neurological issue. A stroke can be a frightening experience and equally as frightening to recover from. As you recover, a physiotherapist can help you by identifying the severity of the stroke, addressing where the current weaknesses are, and also assisting in building up your mental resilience to help you cope. They can also help you get back into the swing of your regular routine, including getting back on your feet. Physiotherapists also work closely with people who have been diagnosed with conditions such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone disease, and more.
What techniques do Physiotherapists use?
Physiotherapy uses a variety of techniques to treat various conditions, including muscle and joint injuries, postural conditions, arthritis, and neurological conditions.
Physiotherapy can take many forms. A physiotherapist can perform it in a clinic or private practice treating patients one-on-one. It can also occur in a group setting at an athletic facility or gymnasium where multiple people simultaneously work on their body parts. It can also be performed remotely over the Internet with video conferencing technology.
In any case, physiotherapy involves careful evaluation of your condition by a trained professional who will then provide treatment using one or more of the following methods:
This can include massage and joint mobilization techniques that work to reduce pain, improve range of motion and help to perform exercises effectively.
A type of treatment that uses exercises to promote flexibility, strength, and balance. These can include stretching and other forms of exercise including Pilates, gym-based exercise, powerlifting, and more. Exercise therapy is very effective for not only recovery from injury but also for injury prevention.
Physiotherapists have a sound understanding of the body and how it functions. Recovery is greatly enhanced when the client being treated has a better understanding of their injury and what is needed to get better. Physiotherapists use a variety of educational tools including videos, exercise software, anatomy charts and models, diagrams, and more. There is always an opportunity to ask questions about your injury with the physiotherapist so that a clear understanding of the recovery pathway can be established.
Hydrotherapy is a pool-based therapy used for treating certain conditions, for example, when there is joint damage, after surgery, or in those who are unable to tolerate weight-bearing exercise. Hydrotherapy is best suited to patients who require low-impact resistance and mobility therapy.
Shockwave is a therapy that uses high-frequency pulsed pressure waves to promote tissue regeneration and enhances the reparation of tendons, soft tissues, and bones.
Shockwave therapy is a safe and non-invasive treatment used when a condition has become more chronic and is not responding to other forms of treatment. The treatment lasts approximately 10 minutes and though it is uncomfortable, has immediate pain-relieving effects and improves the tolerance of exercises needed for recovery. Shockwave therapy is only used for conditions where there is validated research to prove its effectiveness.
How does physiotherapy help in recovery?
The world of physiotherapy is a unique one. It’s a world that’s all about healing and recovery, and it’s not always easy to understand what it means to be recovered.
But here are five ways in which physiotherapy can help you recover:
- They can also use their knowledge to help diagnose certain conditions that may be causing your pain or discomfort, such as strains or sprains. They can recommend treatments that will help you on the path to recovery and getting back to doing what you love.
- Physiotherapists can use their unique skills to help improve your range of motion or flexibility by allowing you to move through your body more efficiently and comfortably. This can help reduce pain and get you back to doing what you love.
- Physiotherapists can help correct muscle imbalances by working with the muscles to get them functioning correctly again. This can be done through a combination of manual therapy techniques and exercises. Often the physio will take you into the gym to demonstrate the exercises so you feel confident performing the rehabilitation.
- They can help you exercise safely and effectively and regain some of the movement you had before an injury.
Finally, physiotherapists can help with rehabilitation both before and after surgery to help you recover. This can involve gentle techniques and simple exercises, to begin with, but can progress to a full gym and return to a sports programme so that you can return to all activities.
Physiotherapy is about people and helping them participate in life to the fullest. The goal is to help people recover from injury and illness and return to doing what they love. Through a collaborative approach alongside other healthcare professionals, a physiotherapist is able to tailor and lead you through a recovery programme following injury.
Do you have any pain or injury-related challenges? Don’t waste any time! Call us today to book an appointment.