Physiotherapy is the healthcare profession that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients who experience difficulties performing functional activities.
It is also known as physical therapy in other countries.
When is physiotherapy beneficial?
Regardless of age, physiotherapy has proved helpful for patients suffering from diverse health conditions, including those that affect the:
- Joints, bones, and soft tissues – sports injuries and shoulder, neck, and back pains
- Breathing and lungs – cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Circulation and the heart – rehabilitation after a heart attack
- Nervous system and the brain – movement difficulties resulting from Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), and stroke.
What are the peerless benefits of physiotherapy?
- It helps alleviate pain
- It helps maintain movement independence
- It helps enhance physical performance
- It helps prevent and manage disabilities and impairments
- It helps improve the patient’s quality of life significantly
- It helps patients achieve the highest function available
- It helps enhance overall wellness and health
What injuries and conditions can benefit from physiotherapy?
ACL tears happen when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is partially or completely torn.
This type of injury is very common among athletes especially those who are engaged in intense and highly competitive sports like soccer, basketball, rugby, and football.
Depending on the condition’s severity, one or a combination of physiotherapy interventions may be required:
- Range of motion (ROM) exercises
- Joint mobilization
- Heat or ice pack application
When the tendons become irritated and inflamed, tendonitis occurs.
The condition is often attributed to overuse, repetitive movements, and overstretching.
Tendonitis can be classified as chronic or acute.
If home-care remedies will prove futile, the following treatment alternatives may be recommended:
- Strap or supportive brace
- Steroid injection
When the ligaments supporting the wrist bones get injured, it can result to wrist sprain.
Typical culprits include forceful bending and overstretching of the ligaments.
Common symptoms of the condition include tenderness, bruising, redness, and swelling.
Usual wrist sprain treatment interventions can include the following:
- Heat packs or ice
- Ultrasound therapy
What are the different types of physiotherapy interventions?
Cryotherapy or Cold Therapy
This physiotherapy intervention has been proven effective in alleviating pain and minimizing swelling.
It is often the recommended treatment option for acute injuries.
Oftentimes, it is done after a deep kneading massage or DKM.
Common examples of cold therapy include ice massage and ice pack application.
Applying heat has been known to help expedite healing as it enhances the blood flow to the injury site.
This physiotherapy intervention is also considered effective in easing pain and softening tight tissues.
The most common heating devices and modalities include:
- Hot packs
- Infrared heat
- Paraffin wax bath
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
A small battery-powered device is required to carry out this type of electrical stimulation.
It functions by sending low current which passes through the electrodes that are placed on the surface of the skin.
Contrary to popular belief, the TENS device will not cause muscle contraction.
However, while known effective in relieving pain, the relief it provides is often only temporary.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Otherwise referred to as therapeutic massage, soft tissue mobilization is used as part of physiotherapy treatment.
Therapeutic massages have been proven to help relax tight muscles, reduce swelling, and minimize pain.
Other Physiotherapy Treatments
Other possible physiotherapy interventions include:
- Joint mobilization
- Assistive device training
- Ergonomic training
- Orthosis fitting
Generally, the recommended physiotherapy treatment will depend on the severity of the injury, symptoms, recovery stage, and the overall goals of the patient.