Physiotherapy is the treatment of injury, disease and disorders through physical methods - such as exercise, massage, manipulation and other treatments - over medication and surgery.
Many people may be of the opinion that physiotherapists mainly work with back and sports related injuries, but they would be very mistaken.Physiotherapists are highly trained health professionals who provide treatment for people suffering from physical problems arising from injury, disease,illness and ageing. Their aim is to improve a person's quality of life by using a variety of treatments to alleviate pain and restore function or, in the case of permanent injury or disease, to lessen the effects of any dysfunction.
A physiotherapist is a health care professional who helps patients achieve maximum range of movement and physical ability, either by developing it in the first place or restoring it after loss of physical ability due to illness, injury or aging. Physiotherapists are usually called physical therapists in the United States, but the term physiotherapist is favoured in the rest of the English-speaking world.
When taking on a new patient, a physiotherapist will take his/her health history and perform a physical examination. He will then develop a treatment plan tailored to the patient's needs. Some of the treatments that physiotherapists use are as follows:
Physiotherapists do not just work with people after an injury, but can be found working in many fields of specialty.
To help their patients gain endurance in the face of cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) illnesses or after surgery. Sometimes, especially for heart attack patients, the therapist will give advice on health and nutrition. They may also use manual therapies to help clear the lungs in patients with certain lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis.
use electrical stimulation and other tactics to promote healing in stubborn wounds such as burns, sores on diabetics, or post-amputation wounds.
are prepared to deal with the special needs of the elderly and help them continue to maintain as active a lifestyle as possible.
specialize in patients that could have any one of many neurological illnesses or injuries. This includes Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT), stroke, or injury to the brain or spinal cord. These patients need help with things like coordination, balance, ambulation, muscle strength, or daily living skills.
are probably what most people think of when they think of physiotherapy. They treat problems with the musculoskeletal system, most often after an injury or orthopaedic surgery. Common therapies include massage, joint manipulation, exercises, heat or cold application, and electrical stimulation.
are specially trained to meet the needs of children. They treat children with developmental delays, congenital problems, injuries, or illness.
specialize in working with athletes and their unique needs. The sports therapist helps athletes function at their peak, aids in preventing injuries, and helps athletes return to maximum performance after an injury. Major sports teams usually employ their own physiotherapists.
specialize in women's health. This specialty helps women recover from such issues as incontinence (usually resulting from pregnancy and childbirth), pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction that is due to a physical problem.
The above eight specialties are board-certifiable by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties; however physiotherapists certainly are not limited to those eight areas. A physiotherapist may choose to focus on a particular passion or interest and build his or her practice from that point.
For example, a therapist with a passion for horseback riding may choose to pursue education in sports therapy, and then focus their efforts on gaining clients who are also equestrians. The therapist will be able to use his/her own knowledge and expertise in the field to help the clients in a way that a therapist who doesn't ride might not be able to do.
There are even some physiotherapists who focus on helping musicians, who may develop repetitive use injuries from practicing several hours per day. Any orthopaedic physiotherapist could give the musician exercises and provide treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis, but only one who is also a trained musician could properly advise the client how to modify his playing to avoid further injury. This is just one more example of how a physiotherapist can use his or her areas of expertise and meld that with a career in physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists have a wide variety of employment opportunities. They may work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, private practices, or with a sports team. They may also work for the government, in research, or they may even teach at physical therapy schools.
A chiropractor has extensive experience and practice at using manipulation of the spine as a treatment technique. Some chiropractors also use muscle release techniques like A.R.T. (Active Release or Trigenics). Similar to a chiropractor, a physiotherapist has the ability to manipulate the spine and perform muscle release techniques. In addition, they can also use acupuncture, help the client work on posture and balance, teach core stability exercises, and help prevent the problem from arising again by showing the client rehabilitative exercises they can do at home.
Physical therapists use a holistic approach that is based on the manual treatment of soft tissue, for example, tendons, ligaments, muscles and fascia.They do not specifically treat the spine. Physical therapists complete a three year part time degree which will consist of twenty weekends per year over three years, and carry out their clinical practice in a private setting.
Physiotherapists have an extensive scientific and clinical background which helps them assess, diagnose and treat illnesses and conditions. They use electrotherapy, medical acupuncture and dry needling, manipulation, mobilization, massage, and prescriptive exercise to help their patients. Physiotherapists complete a four year full time degree, which includes one thousand hours of clinical placement in a community, primary care, or hospital setting prior to qualification.
Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for a plethora of conditions and any one of these treatments can help lessen the recovery time after a variety of surgeries.
Physiotherapists can specialise in a number of different areas including sports medicine, children's health ( paediatrics), and women's health and within these parameters there are three different areas of practise. These are:
In many cases an injury can be caused by other underlying factors. It could be that constant back pain is caused by repetitive work related activities, bad posture, being over-weight, or even adopting the wrong technique when playing a sport. Accordingly the physiotherapist not only treats the back pain but addresses the other factors too. This holistic approach aims to reduce the risk of the injury happening again.