The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) describes physiotherapy as a healthcare routine that involves assessing, diagnosing and treating disease and disability through physical means. By employing proven techniques in manual therapy, physiotherapists help restore movement and function to patients affected by a disability, a health condition or an injury. Sometimes it is even sought out to prevent injuries and certain physical ailments. A physiotherapist uses his in-depth knowledge of how the body functions and combines it with hands-on clinical skills to diagnose and treat symptoms. But that is not the whole story.
Physiotherapy is not just a massage!
What people often fail to understand is that physiotherapy is not just about the body and physiotherapists are not mere masseurs. Our bodies and minds are linked seamlessly and a good physiotherapist will look at his patient holistically. In fact, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), the professional body for the U.K.’s physiotherapists, runs regular articles in its Frontlinemagazine on the importance of a comprehensive approach in physical therapy.
This means, ideally, physiotherapists ought to incorporate psychological therapy along with the physical work of getting patients back on their feet, sometimes literally. They must work closely with the patient to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Whether this recommended approach is followed or not depends on the individual therapist.
What does physiotherapy treatment involve?
A physiotherapist will start by making a complete assessment of your concerns. They might do this through a physical examination or by asking you relevant questions. This assessment will allow the therapist to suggest treatments and exercises tailored to your needs. Typically, physiotherapy treatment will involve:
What are the techniques of physiotherapy?
Typically, based on the nature of the injury or any particular issue the patient is getting treated for, a physiotherapist may employ a host of techniques. Common techniques include:
Sometimes, lesser-known techniques such as hydrotherapy are also used but their effectiveness is as yet unproven.
Who needs physiotherapy?
Physiotherapists are trained to help people achieve their highest possible range of movement. Someone may have suffered a severe injury while playing football or badly sprained her neck while bending over her laptop at work. A physiotherapist can help in both situations. Generally speaking, people should approach a physiotherapist if they:
How does physiotherapy help?
Today, there is a significant body of research that shows physiotherapy greatly benefits a whole range of people. Though there are differences and certain counter studies with regard to specific gains of physiotherapy (which we will come to later), there is general agreement that it helps in:
Tips for effective physiotherapy
It is possible that you might have had a bad experience with physiotherapy. If you have had, it is legitimate to ask whether it does more harm than good. Will it hurt? Will it be a waste of time and effort? Such and other questions might plague you. But physiotherapy is a collaborative treatment in which you are part of the routine at every step. So, it is important to follow certain ground rules.
Physiotherapy can alleviate the following conditions and ailments:
Is physiotherapy a stand-alone cure?
A study published in the British Medical Journal claimed that physiotherapy offered in the NHS for lower back pain of mild to moderate severity did not do much good to the patients and that physiotherapy was just an ‘easy option’ for sufferers. Responding to the study, the CSP retorted that it was imperative patients combine physiotherapy with long-term lifestyle changes (such as regular exercise and a balanced diet) for overall pain improvement.
Like any other healthcare routine, physiotherapy too can enrich our stress-filled lives if we do not put the whole burden of our physical health outcomes on it and instead use it as a part of our broader wellness-focused life plan.
For more details on our physiotherapy module and the rest of our extensive library of health and wellbeing modules, you can book a demo with Earthmiles to learn more about how our software platform can help your business.
Originally written 4th September 2019