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Physiotherapy: Who Can Benefit from It?

In essence, physiotherapy is the healthcare profession that helps in the diagnosis, treatment, assessment, and prevention of disability and disease through physical means.
In other countries, it is also referred to as physical therapy.

The experts in movement and function are called physiotherapists.

Physical therapy functions by restoring function and movement in patients affected by illness, injury, and disability.

Different preventative and treatment approaches are used by physiotherapists.


Primarily, the treatment approach employed will depend on the condition being treated.

Three of the main approaches used in physiotherapy are manual therapy, movement and exercise, and education and advice.

Who can benefit?
 
Physiotherapy is beneficial for those individuals with medical conditions affecting the following:
  • Breathing and lungs – cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Bones, joints, and soft tissues – back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, and sports injuries
  • Nervous system or the brain – movement difficulties secondary to multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, and stroke.
  • Circulation and the heart – rehabilitation for individuals who survived a heart attack
What are the key goals?
 
While physical therapy has many goals, some of the primary ones are:
  • Retaining movement independence
  • Providing relief from pain
  • Managing and preventing disabilities and impairments
  • Achieving the highest possible function
  • Improving physical performance
  • Improving overall wellness and health
  • Enhancing the patient’s quality of life
What are some of the physiotherapy treatments?
 
Some of the most common physiotherapy treatments are:

Cryotherapy or Cold Therapy
 
Considered effective in minimizing both the swelling and the pain, cold therapy is often used in the treatment of acute injuries.

It is also often done after a deep kneading massage (DKM).

Ice massage and ice pack application are two of the most common examples of cold therapy.

Soft Tissue Mobilization
 
Also known as therapeutic massage, soft tissue mobilization is also deemed an important part of physiotherapy treatment.

Effective in relaxing tight muscles, therapeutic massages have also been proven effective in minimizing pain and reducing swelling.

Heat Therapy

Applying heat helps facilitate quicker healing by enhancing the blood flow at the injury site.
It also helps provide pain relief and soften tight tissues.

Some of the most common heating devices and modalities include:
  • Paraffix wax bath
  • Ultrasound
  • Diathermy
  • Hot packs
  • Infrared heat
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises

Range of motion exercises are usually recommended to lessen stiffness and maintain and enhance joint flexibility.

Some of the most common range of motion exercises include:
  • AAROM – Active Assistive Range of Motion exercises
  • AROM – Active Range of Motion exercises
  • PROM – Passive Range of Motion exercises
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
TENS works by sending low current using a small and battery-operated device.

The current will pass through electrodes placed on the surface of the skin.

While proven effective in providing pain relief, it should be noted that the relief provided is often only temporary.

Other Physiotherapy Treatments
  • Taping
  • Ergonomic training
  • Traction
  • Bandaging
  • Fitting of orthosis
  • Joint mobilization
  • Balance exercises
  • Assistive device training
What injuries and conditions can benefit from physiotherapy?


Wrist sprain
 
Wrist sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the wrist bones are injured.

In most cases, the injury is attributed to the overstretching of the ligaments in the wrist.
Some of the physiotherapy treatments for the condition include:
  • Heat or ice packs
  • TENS
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Exercises
ACL tear
ACL tears occur when the ACL ligament becomes completely or partially torn.

This injury is highly common among athletes involved in high-intensity sports like soccer, basketball, rugby, and football.

Depending on the severity of the condition, one (or a combination) of physical therapy interventions will be utilized:
  • TENS
  • Joint mobilization
  • Range of motion (ROM) exercises
  • Heat application or ice pack
Tendonitis
When the tendons become inflamed and irritated, a condition known as tendonitis occurs.

The condition can also be attributed to overuse, overstretching, and repetitive movements.

When home remedies are ineffective, the following treatment approaches might be recommended:
  • Ultrasound
  • Supportive strap or brace
  • Steroid injection
  • Physiotherapy
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