What is Physiotherapy
Physiotherapists are primary healthcare professionals who provide physical therapy services. The role of physiotherapy includes rehabilitation, promoting health, injury prevention and treatment of injury and disease. Physiotherapists have years of training and in depth knowledge of the body and how it works. They use their hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of injury, illness or disability.
Physiotherapy is defined as the treatment method which focuses on the science of movement. Restoring, maintaining and maximizing physical strength, function, motion and general health are the focuses of physiotherapy.
What to expect at a physiotherapy appointment?
A physiotherapist works with you to explore your abilities and functional needs and to come up with a treatment plan which incorporates current approaches and techniques. At an appointment, you can expect that a physiotherapist may:
- Learn about your medical history
- Assess and diagnose your condition and needs
- Help you to set and meet your physical goals
- Create a customized treatment plan that considers your health, lifestyle and activities
- Prescribe exercises and devices (if needed)
Qualifications of physiotherapists
All physiotherapist have a master’s degree in physiotherapy and have met national entry-level education and practise standards. Prospective physiotherapists must pass the national Physiotherapy Competency Examination then register with the college of physiotherapists in their province/territory before practising in the field. Physiotherapists are skilled at identifying the root cause of an injury and at effectively treating that injury. There are many environments a physiotherapist can practise in, including private clinics, fitness clubs, hospitals, community health centres, residential care, assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces and schools.
Physiotherapists often work in tandem with other healthcare professionals to provide you with the best treatment services. A physician may recommend physiotherapy services following an injury, car accident, an operation (such as hip replacement), a heart attack or stroke.
Physiotherapy treatments can include the following:
- Personalized exercise programs designed to improve your strength, range of motion, and function
- Specific treatment plan to cope with recovering from a motor vehicle accident
- Joint mobilization and manipulation to reduce pain and stiffness
- Hot and cold packs and modalities to relieve pain, reduce swelling, speed up the healing process, improve movement and function
- Airway clearance methods to assist people with breathing difficulties
- Skin and wound care
- Management of incontinence including pelvic floor re-education
- Functional activity and tolerance testing and training
- Work and occupational re-training and return to work planning
- Prescription, fabrication and application of assistive, adaptive, supportive and protective devices and equipment
- Environmental change, focusing on removing barriers to function
Techniques used in physiotherapy
Whenever possible, a physiotherapist applies to most modern and updated techniques to suit your unique injury and needs. Some common physiotherapy techniques include:
- Manual manipulation: joints and soft tissue are manipulated to improve circulation, drain fluid from the body and to relax muscles with spasms.
- Exercise prescription to improve joint strength and range of motion.
- Electrical nerve stimulation: the stimulation of muscles with small electrical currents can promote suppression and blocking of pain signals to the central nervous system
- Acupuncture: Needles stimulate the nervous system and work to dull pain, release muscles, boost the immune system and regulate various body functions.
- Demonstration: demonstrating proper movement techniques will allow the patients to better help heal themselves.
- Functional testing: Testing a patient to assess his/her physical abilities.
- Device provision: Prescription, fabrication and application of assistive, adaptive, supportive and protective devices and equipment.
Whether you are experiencing problems with movement or function, or you would like to optimize your general health, speaking with a trusted professional such as a physiotherapist is a good place to start.