When we are ill or injured, our bodies have an amazing ability to heal and restore movement and functionality. Sometimes this recovery takes time, especially with injuries or chronic conditions. When the pain becomes persistent or severe enough to interfere with daily living, it may be time to visit a physical therapist.
Physiotherapy is the profession that develops, maintains and restores maximum movement and functional ability through non-invasive, patient-centred techniques. It has three core spheres of work: promotion, prevention/treatment/intervention and education/service management. It can be delivered in a wide variety of health settings from hospitals to private practice, community health and care homes to hospices.
Most people know that a physiotherapist is the person you get referred to after an injury or surgery but many do not realize that physiotherapy can also help prevent illness or manage long-term medical conditions such as asthma. In addition, physiotherapy can also be used to improve sports performance and manage aging issues such as arthritis.
Pain management is the central focus of physiotherapy if you want to find out more look here and this can be achieved through manual therapy, exercise/stretches and taping techniques. It can also include specific rehabilitative exercises that aim to strengthen the area, reduce pain and improve posture and balance. Other modalities may be incorporated into your treatment plan such as myofascial release, joint mobilization/manipulation and/or dry needling.
Your physiotherapist will take a detailed history of your complaint, perform a thorough examination and discuss the findings with you. The physiotherapist will then use this information to develop an appropriate treatment plan aimed at alleviating your symptoms and improving your quality of life. Treatments will often begin with soft tissue techniques such as massage, which can warm, loosen and relax the muscles, increase circulation and break down scar tissue. Joint manipulation/mobilization involves measured movements using varying speeds (slow to fast), forces (gentle to forceful) and distances (called ‘amplitude’) to twist, pull or push bones and joints into position. Taping is a technique that can be used to reduce swelling by lifting the skin away from the connective tissue, reducing inflammation and increasing lymphatic flow.
Most physiotherapy treatments are performed hands-on, which is important for achieving the most beneficial results. In addition, your physiotherapist will provide you with exercises and stretches to do at home that will support the healing process and prevent the recurrence of your symptoms. The physiotherapist will explain the purpose of each exercise and why it is important to your recovery.
Traditionally people attended NHS physiotherapy appointments once a week for a six to ten week period but with advances in digital support it is now possible for you to get the best possible care without having to travel. However, some patients prefer face-to-face consultations and this can still be arranged if you wish.