Physiotherapy is commonly regarded as treatment of injuries, strains and sprains to the musculoskeletal and circulatory systems. Others may only view physiotherapy treatment for low back pain only. Both these statements are not untrue, but lack the significance and the rich, layered, multi-dimensional nature of physiotherapy that makes it suitable for treatment of any number of conditions.
Physiotherapy has a variety of applications, that can be used to treat a diversity of conditions. It is not limited to elite level or active athletes who are recovering from sport injuries.
Physiotherapy can be used for the treatment of muscular aches, arthritis, respiratory issues and any condition that may be impeding people from all walks of life who want to enjoy a more active and healthier lifestyle.
Here are 5 of the most common areas that benefit from the attention of trained physiotherapists.
1. Sports Injury
Let’s start with the most obvious. It is true that sports injuries account for a significant number of cases faced by the average physiotherapist, and this is likely to remain the case as people are encouraged to lead more active lifestyles.
Aches and sprains do not arise simply from physically demanding exercise regimes. The reality is that beginners are more vulnerable to injury risks due to their inexperience in proper warm-up & warm-down, for example.
Either way, the aches and sprains associated with physical activity are commonplace. Even experienced on-the-field sportsmen and women are not invulnerable, and will often require physiotherapy to keep their bodies flexible and alleviate stiffness in the muscles and joints.
The physiotherapist will play a key role in the healing and rehabilitation of anyone who has suffered an acute injury during physical activity.
2. Muscular & Back Ache
As we’ve seen, physiotherapy is not just for elite athletes, but also for people from everyday walks of life who perhaps want to be more active than they are currently. But a large number of people are prevented from being as active as they like by persistent muscular aches that inhibit their freedom of physical movement.
Back Ache, particularly lower back pain, which impacts on the lives of a huge percentage of people due to longer working days in more sedentary roles. This is why people choose physiotherapy treatment for low back pain. The treatments reduce the pain and stiffness arising from such conditions, helping to encourage blood flow to the muscles and, through massage, reducing tension in and around the site of aching muscles.
Older people are more likely to develop arthritis, the disorder that affects the joint, and whose symptoms, which generally include pain and stiffness in the joints, can negatively impact on quality of life to a significant extent.
However, research shows that physical exercise of the affected joints can improve pain relief and recovery over the long-term, and help to delay the requirement for surgical treatment in more serious cases.
It has been shown that physiotherapy can be as good as medication in treating osteoarthritis of the knee, while researchers at the University of Western Ontario found that a combination of physiotherapy and medication was just as effective a treatment as arthroscopic surgery.
Physiotherapists help people suffering arthritis through more gentle exercises than those involved in physiotherapy treatment for low back pain. Nevertheless, the programmes help to ease stiffness in the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles, thereby increasing the patient’s range of physical movement, helping to pave the way to a steady increase in strength and activity.
Rehabilitation must be treated as a serious process of recovery from anyone who has suffered serious injury in an accident, or been through surgical treatments for medical problems.
Physiotherapy is vitally important if a person is to make the proper recovery from surgery on or injuries to the knees, shoulders or hips, especially cases where the insertion of metal plates or pins has been involved.
More serious injuries, such as those sustained in car crashes, may leave the accident victims in need of assistance in learning how to walk, sit and stand properly again, and here the physiotherapist plays a key role in working with the client through a lengthy, structured programme of intensive rehabilitation.
Such programmes often involve every weapon in the physiotherapist’s arsenal to facilitate the healing process and manage and control pain and discomfort for the patient, while the physio works to improve circulation, increase muscle strength, and restore normal physical movement and functions.
5. Respiratory Conditions
Physiotherapy is used in exercises and programmes designed to ease breathing for people affected by respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis. Trained physiotherapists also have the expertise to identify any issues with posture that may inhibit the patient’s breathing, as well as helping to manage and ease pain. Physiotherapy can also be used to help alleviate respiratory symptoms arising from a range of conditions including asthma, lung cancer and pneumonia.