Physiotherapy, more commonly known as physical therapy, is a form of medical care designed to help patients regain physical abilities diminished through injury or disease. It is widely accepted and used around the globe to assist patients in need of physical rehabilitation.
There are numerous reasons for undergoing physiotherapy. Athletes will see a physical therapist to strengthen a limb or joint after suffering a sports-related injury. Aging or disease can also play a factor in seeing a physical therapist if those conditions are causing a patient’s body to deteriorate from its normal state.
A physical therapist is concerned with enhancing quality of life for their patients. Every aspect of physical therapy is geared toward helping patients regain a full range of movement and freedom from pain in parts of their body where conditions have prevented either from occurring.
Physiotherapists use five tools to assist patients in regaining their former quality of life. These tools are:
Physical therapists receive medical training just like physicians do. A typical physical therapist is a college graduate with a degree in the field of physical therapy. They are well educated on anatomy, neuroscience and physiology so that they can make a proper diagnosis on which treatment or method of rehabilitation is best in a physiotherapy session.
Qualified physiotherapists can identify the underlying causes behind what is limiting a patient’s mobility and their ability to function at a normal healthy level.
They understand how to identify a wide variety of cardiothoracic, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular diseases. This allows them to offer a diagnosis of what is causing a patient’s physical limitations and chart the right course of therapy that will allow the patient to return to as close to full strength as possible.
Physical therapy can be focused on different areas depending upon the needs of the patient receiving it. Areas of focus in physiotherapy include:
Neuromuscular therapy involves working on areas of the body where nerves and muscle fibers intersect and interact. The transfer of information from nerves to muscles are the primary function of the neuromuscular system. As a result, this type of physical therapy centers on working with the brain, the spine and other major nerve groupings.
Musculoskeletal therapy focuses on rehabilitating various connective tissues throughout the body. These tissues include muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joints. These connective tissues form the entire musculoskeletal structure and are what allow the muscles and bones to enjoy a full range of movement. Everything from walking to eating is affected by the health of this system. Patients treated with this type of therapy work on restoring connective tissue to maximum functionality.
Cardiovascular therapy is concerned with the heart and circulatory systems in the body. Healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system is vital to survival. The circulatory system carries nutrients and oxygen in the blood to various body tissues while removing waste and carbon dioxide. The heart regulates blood flow. Cardiovascular therapy is used with heart patients or others suffering from conditions that impact the function of their cardiovascular system.
Respiratory therapy involves strengthening organs that are involved in breathing. This includes the lungs, nose, throat, bronchial tubes and larynx. Patients who suffered from respiratory diseases or suffer an injury such as a collapsed lung are usually candidates for this type of physical therapy.