WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY (PHYSIOTHERAPY)?
Physical therapy also known as physiotherapy is a health care profession concerned with human function and movement and maximising physical potential. It is concerned with identifying and maximising quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. Physiotherapists help people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise, manual therapy, education and advice. It uses physical approaches to promote, maintain and restore physical, psychological and social well-being, taking into account variations in health status. It is science-based, committed to extending, applying, evaluating and reviewing the evidence that underpins and informs its practice and delivery. The exercise of clinical judgement and informed interpretation is at its core.
Physiotherapy is one of the allied health professions that, by using evidence-based kinesiology, exercise prescription, health education, mobilization, electrical and physical agents, treats acute or chronic pain, movement physical impairments resulting from injury, trauma or illness typically musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, neurological and endocrinological origins. Physiotherapy is used to improve a patient’s physical functions through physical examination, diagnosis, prognosis, patient education, physical intervention, rehabilitation, disease prevention and health promotion. It is practiced by physical therapists (known as physiotherapists in many countries). Physiotherapists and Physical Therapists (PTs) work within a wide variety of health settings to improve a broad range of physical problems associated with different ‘systems’ of the body. In particular they treat neuromuscular (brain and nervous system), musculoskeletal (soft tissues, joints and bones), cardiovascular and respiratory systems (heart and lungs and associated physiology).
Physiotherapy addresses the illnesses, or injuries that limit a person’s abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs use an individual’s history and physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis and establish a management plan and, when necessary, incorporate the results of laboratory and imaging studies like X-rays, CT-scan, or MRI findings. Electro-diagnostic testing (e.g., electromyograms and nerve conduction velocity testing) may also be used. PT management commonly includes prescription of or assistance with specific exercises, manual therapy, and manipulation, mechanical devices such as traction, education, electrophysical modalities which include heat, cold, electricity, sound waves, radiation, assistive devices, prostheses, orthoses, and other interventions.
In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles, providing services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability throughout the lifespan. This includes providing therapeutic treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors. Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy. Neurological rehabilitation is in particular a rapidly emerging field. PTs practice in many settings, such as private-owned physio therapy clinics, outpatient clinics or offices, health and wellness clinics, rehabilitation hospitals facilities, skilled nursing facilities, extended care facilities, private homes, education and research centers, schools, hospices, industrial and this workplaces or other occupational environments, fitness centers and sports training facilities.
What is included in Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a degree-based healthcare profession. Physios use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body, such as:
- Neurological (stroke,multiple sclerosis,Parkinson’s)
- Neuro-musculoskeletal (back pain, whiplash associated disorder, sports injuries, arthritis)
- Cardiovascular (chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after heart attack)
- Respiratory (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis).
Physiotherapists work in a variety of specialties in health and social care. Additionally, some physiotherapists are involved in education, research and service management.
Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle. At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment. You can benefit from physiotherapy at any time in your life. Physiotherapy helps with back pain or sudden injury, managing long-term medical condition such as asthma, and in preparing for childbirth or a sporting event. The profession helps to encourage development and facilitate recovery, enabling people to stay in work while helping them remain independent for as long as possible.