Physiotherapy is a widespread practice, but many people don’t have a solid understanding of what it is and the amazing benefits it offers. In a nutshell, physiotherapy is a comprehensive approach to restoring a person’s movement and function following an illness or injury. Physiotherapists provide a tailored treatment program for individual patients in minimizing pain and prevention of injuries.
Here are a few little-known facts about physiotherapy that might just surprise you:
1. Physical therapy and physiotherapy are the same thing
Many people use these two terms to mean completely different practices. In other countries, there is a distinction drawn between physical therapy and physiotherapy, but in Canada the two terms mean the same thing.
The role of physiotherapy or physical therapy is to restore a person’s original mobility and return to a physically active life (be it at home or school/work). The treatment is conducted by healthcare professionals who have proven expertise in the assessment of a person’s movement and appropriate exercises to get the joints working properly again.
Physiotherapists are trained to do the following:
- Provide advice and support throughout treatment
- Assist the patient and do all means possible to empower you in managing your condition
- Resolve concerns and address uncertainties that may slow down a patient’s recovery
- Set realistic goals that will help you become as physically active as possible
- Specializing physiotherapists are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of joint and muscular problems. If you’re under observation by a general practitioner, he may refer you to a specialist.
Your physiotherapist will begin his assessment by examining the affected joint/s and ask you questions regarding the pain you’re experiencing as well as your physical activities. Through this assessment, your therapist will be able to gauge your condition and identify the exact treatment you need for your unique circumstance.
Recommended treatments can include any one or a combination of the following:
- Program-based exercises aimed at gradually increasing your activity level and reducing the risk of injuries linked to exercising
- Treatments to relieve your pain like ice or heat packs, massages, acupuncture, taping, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines
- Splints or walking aids to assist your mobility and help you become independent
2. Physiotherapy can treat more health conditions than you probably imagine
A common misconception about physiotherapy is that it’s only a treatment recourse for people who’ve sustained an injury after a vehicular or sports-related accident. But that’s just one aspect of physiotherapy. Far from what most people believe, it is also a great treatment option to alleviate and manage the symptoms of a diverse range of conditions.
Physiotherapy can treat back pain, asthma, severe pain, and vertigo. Pregnant women and first-time mothers can also benefit from a string of physiotherapy sessions in preparing their bodies for childbirth to facilitate smoother delivery.
Physiotherapy is also a recommended treatment for the following conditions:
- Neurological illnesses (e.g. stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and multiple sclerosis
- Cardiovascular illnesses (e.g. heart disease and rehabilitative therapies for heart attack)
- Respiratory illnesses (e.g. asthma, cystic fibrosis, and obstructive pulmonary disease)
3. Physical therapy provides many benefits, including eliminating the need for surgery
Many post-surgery recovery programs enlist physical therapy as a vital component for complete healing, especially for patients suffering from joint and spine problems/injuries.
For example, people who go through an ankle surgery or hip replacement as a result of a sports injury are usually introduced to physiotherapy following their operation. In some cases, patients begin their treatment immediately after surgery. This is to make sure they heal properly.
But physical therapy can also prevent a person from having to undergo invasive surgery. According to a study released by the Annals of Internal Medicine in April 2015, physical therapy can aid people with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS, a lower back pain induced by the narrowing of the spine), to avoid going under the knife.
The study went on to conclude that surgical decompression brought about similar effects to physical therapy program in patients who were supposed to undergo surgery for LSS.
4. Physiotherapy is instrumental in the prevention and management of obesity
Being overweight or obese results in movement restrictions and reduced engagement in any physical activity. Physiotherapists can help obese individuals prevent their excessive weight from affecting their mobility. Movement and exercise is the guiding principle of physiotherapy as a practice.
Your local physiotherapists combine the following components in developing patient-focused programs and solutions-based methods in the prevention and management of obesity:
- Assessment and treatment program to eliminate exercise barriers
- Tailored exercise routine and therapeutic exercise
- Addressing the psychological and physical complexities linked to obesity
- Behaviour change
- Study of the structure, motion, and functions of the body in relation to the patient’s current weight (biomechanics)
- Management of long-term conditions
Physiotherapists have the expertise and experience in crafting a multi-layer approach to addressing obesity. Patients who have difficulties living with their condition can achieve the desired outcomes and get a favourable patient experience by seeking the services of a physical therapist.
To give you a general overview, a treatment program designed for an obese patient may comprise of the following:
- Personal lifestyle advice (with consideration of the patient’s attitude, circumstances, beliefs, preferences, and readiness and openness to change)
- Prescription, progression, and consistent supervision of ideal physical activity. The goal of the exercises is to boost muscle strength, endurance, and flexibility.
- Treatment and management of existing health conditions like back pain, arthritis, or musculoskeletal conditions like heart disease.
5. Physiotherapy can relieve severe pain
Chronic pain zaps out your comfort. It can take a toll on your emotional, physical, and social health. Instead of living off painkillers that only provide temporary respite from seething back or pelvic pain, visit a physiotherapy clinic for long-term pain relief.
You know you need the intervention of a physiotherapist when you experience severe and persistent pain that drags beyond three months. This pain may result from an underlying inflammation or tissue damage. It can affect a certain area of the body (e.g. lower back pain) or widespread (e.g. fibromyalgia).
Manual therapies like acupuncture can also provide relief, albeit short-lived. Evidence recommends employing a more active and multidisciplinary treatment like therapeutic exercise. Multidisciplinary pain management methods bank on physiotherapy, among other treatments, to improve pain conditions, shorten treatment durations, and lower healthcare expenses.
Physical therapy encourages people experiencing chronic pain to stay in or return to their work as soon as possible.
If you’re keen to learn more about physiotherapy or you’re planning to schedule an appointment, Oriole Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre can help you.
When you need a trusted therapist who can work with you and address your concerns, contact Oriole Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Centre. We will introduce you to a suitable therapy to improve your well-being and regain your optimal health.
Call us today at (416) 221-0772 to schedule an appointment, or use the online form to book a session.