If you've recently sustained an injury, you're suffering from chronic pain or you're recovering from a medical condition such as a stroke, chances are that you need help with easing the pain and improving function and movement. Using a combination of modern technology and traditional tools, physiotherapists can relieve pain and improve a patient's overall motor functionality.
Don't let your back pain or sport injury weigh you down and hinder you from carrying out daily tasks. Discover physiotherapists located anywhere across the island with Yellow.
What can a physiotherapist do for you?
Treat your aches and pains, injuries and conditions Whether it's physical problems caused by injury, disease, illness or ageing, physiotherapists are highly trained professionals who can restore movement and function and as a result, can improve their patients' overall quality of life. Professionals in this sector work either in public hospitals and local health centres or operate from private clinics. Some also do home visits, a service particularly helpful to those who have mobility issues. Others work in education and research, whereas a number of them specialise in a particular area, such as sports or paediatric physiotherapy.
Local physiotherapists must be registered with the Council for the Professions Complementary to Medicine, which ensures that they are qualified to practice their profession. Offering a comprehensive range of services that include the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of their patients, these health practitioners provide a holistic approach to their clients' issues. For instance, a condition such as lower back pain could be the result of underlying factors such as bad posture, utilising the wrong technique when playing a sport or due to conditions like obesity. This means that the physio must not only treat the injury or pain, but he or she also needs to address the root cause of the problem.
What are the different types of therapy available?
Physical therapy can help manage and improve a range of conditions associated with any part of the human body. It has also been beneficial to things like preparing mothers-to-be for childbirth. Below are some of the most commonly treated conditions.
Neurological: these include conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's and multiple sclerosis
Neuromusculoskeletal: such disorders are associated with sports injuries, arthritis, chronic back pain and whiplash associated disorder caused by car collisions
Cardiovascular: these issues consist of chronic heart disease and rehabilitation after a heart attack
Respiratory: from asthma to cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), physio has proven to be effective in treating such disorders
However, physiotherapy is a collaborative approach with health professional and patient having to work hand-in-hand. The physio educates and advises the client on the best approaches to better manage and treat the problem, whilst empowering and supporting the patient.
How to prepare for your first appointment
Your therapist will assess your overall physical condition and might need to have a look at test results. Very often, he or she may conduct a biomechanical analysis, which involves the study of human motion to determine what causes injuries and, ultimately, how these can be prevented from reoccurring. The analysis will include studying the patient's walking patterns and running style and in some cases a sport specific analysis is conducted, known as sports biomechanics. Remember to wear comfortable clothing and footwear which will allow you to move freely both for your first appointment and for any other subsequent sessions.
Physiotherapy treatment techniques vary in purpose and scope. The most common ones include manual therapies such as joint manipulation and mobilisation, muscle stretching, as well as massage and soft tissue techniques. Many of these treatments are used by professionals like chiropractors, osteopaths and massage therapists. Exercise programmes that involve posture retraining and at times, exercises stemming from pilates and yoga are also common. These physiotherapy exercises are used to strengthen muscles, improve function and mobility, while they are considered highly effective in preventing pain and injury.
Some physiotherapists may have had additional training in acupuncture and dry needling, two methods that have also been proven to improve muscle function. Supportive taping and strapping, as well as kinesiology taping, is utilised to prevent injuries. Kinesiology taping, in particular, is very often used by professional athletes to better their sporting performance. Similar in thickness and elasticity to human skin, this stretchy, cotton-based tape allows total freedom of movement. On the other hand, rigid strapping tape, otherwise known as sports tape or athletic tape, is mostly used to support an injury and can serve as a pain-reliever most especially chronic pain in joints like the ankle. One other frequent treatment technique is that of electrotherapy and local modalities, whereby an increased level of electrical, sound, light, magnetic or temperature energy is used to speed up the natural healing process.
Physiotherapists also use a number of equipment in combination with the aforementioned treatment techniques. For example, ramps are typically used by individuals who need to relearn how to use their lower limbs such as stroke patients, whereas stability exercise balls help to develop balance and core strength, whilst resistance bands assist in strengthening the muscles.