Physiotherapy deals with the treatment of many conditions, not as is often the public misconception only injuries and back problems. Physiotherapists can help in a wide range of situations such as:
- After an operation
- After a fall or injury
- With degenerative diseases and disorders
- With people with mobility issues
- With geriatric issues
Through a variety of techniques including massage, mobilization, exercise routines and electrotherapy, physiotherapists are highly trained professionals who can help in a wide range of situations and for a plethora of different conditions.
Within the wide range of specializations that a physio can practice in there are three main types of condition that are treated with physiotherapy:
Also known as orthopaedic physiotherapy. This is the area which most people think physiotherapists work in. This is of course true, but not exclusively. Musculoskeletal physiotherapy is widely used to treat such conditions as strains and sprains, bursitis, posture issues, sports injuries, injuries from work, back pain and arthritis. It is also the area that covers rehabilitation from surgery.
Perhaps a lesser known fact about physiotherapy is that it can be used very effectively for sufferers of asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other cardio-respiratory problems.
Physiotherapy can be very important as part of a treatment program for those with nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s, MS, brain injuries and strokes or injuries to the spinal cord. Physiotherapy is an important tool in the rehabilitation of patients following all kinds of surgery, but including brain surgery.
There are, as you can see, so many areas in which physiotherapists can help and while recovery from sports injuries and injuries from the workplace are a huge part of what physiotherapists can offer, there are so many other conditions and circumstances in which physiotherapists prove their worth.
Types of therapies offered
The first appointment of any given patient is usually a double session consisting of an initial consultation and then the start of the prescribed treatment. Every individual’s treatment programme will be uniquely tailored to their specific requirements and circumstances, but your physiotherapist will choose from a diverse range of different overlapping therapies including but not restricted to:
- Hands-on Manual therapies – treatment under this umbrella includes joint manipulation where necessary, mobilisation including spinal mobilisation, stretching and manual resistance training.
- Electrotherapy techniques – recently there has been a big focus on TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) for back pain with nerve involvement and it is a powerful technique for physios, laser therapy, ultrasound and diathermy also have their place in the tools in the armoury of physiotherapists.
- Prescribed Exercise Programmes – often taking advantage of computer software and databases of exercises your physio will usually prescribe you an exercise programme to include exercises to boost flexibility and muscle strengthening, relearning and correcting posture, which is incredibly important for back problems and cardiovascular training.
There are, as you can see a whole host of issues and situations that call for a professional physiotherapist intervention, as well as a very broad range of treatment options to suit each unique group of circumstances.