Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a form of treatment provided by a physiotherapist who promote, maintain, and restore health by using the science of movement.
The idea has been around since 460 BC when physicians like Hippocrates and Galen advocated treatments such as massage, manual therapy techniques and hydrotherapy to treat people with physical challenges.
Since then, the practice has evolved to encompass the treatment of not only pain and injury, but underlying physical issues as well.
This amazing holistic approach has been used around the globe to help individuals regain mobility, address underlying conditions and overcome pain. In a nutshell, physiotherapists work to help individuals regain their independence and live fulfilling lives.
What is Physiotherapy? The Basics.
Physio is a treatment method that focuses on the science of movement to help people restore, maintain and maximize their motion, strength, function. This form of therapy uses the latest evidence-based as well as natural physical approaches to help reduce pain and promote well-being by addressing underlying physical issues.
Through a variety of different treatment modalities, it allows for a fast and optimal repair of the body while treating a variety of conditions. It also greatly improves quality of life.
Depending on your needs, your treatment may include functional training, massage, taping, joint mobilization, and stretching. Treatment may also include self-management strategies as well as goal setting and lifestyle advice.
The 9 Popular Disciplines of Physiotherapy
At the core of PT is the ability for therapists to identify physical issues and strategize a therapy plan to maximize healing and relief from pain or injury.
For this reason, there are multiple forms of physiotherapy designed to individualize care and achieve better movement and function, including:
Children’s bodies are constantly growing and developing, which is why a specialized form of physiotherapy is necessary when it comes to smaller bodies.
Pediatric physiotherapy is designed to aid in the improved growth and development of children and can address issues associated with motor skills, balance, congenital disabilities, sports injuries, and the normalization of movement.
Female-centric physiotherapy focuses on the female reproductive system, its function, and the various issues that can be associated with it. This can ease the process of childbirth as well as provide pre-natal and post-natal care. Women can find relief from pain caused by pregnancy as well as learn the skills to develop core strength – which can help control urinary functions and ease the difficulties of childbirth.
Slower metabolism experienced in older age can lead to underlying problems. Geriatric Physiotherapy is used to maintain health in the later years by preventing or managing age-related symptoms as well as maintaining good muscle health to decrease the risk of injury. It can help restore mobility and strength, reduce chronic pain, improve fitness, and work with physical limitations.
Neurological Physical Therapy addresses conditions related to the nervous system such as head injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and sciatica. It can help rebuild neural pathways, improve motor control, increase sensation, and help individuals rehabilitate after brain surgery.
This form of physiotherapy can help individuals who are suffering from diseases related to the heart, chest, and lungs such as cardiac arrest or various pulmonary disorders. This includes resistance training and breathing exercises and can help manage chronic coughs and shortness of breath.
Musculoskeletal Physio addresses the function of the musculoskeletal system which includes bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. This can help alleviate pain, increase mobility, heal injuries, and align the musculoskeletal system.
This type of physiotherapy deals entirely with athletes and sports professionals, employing specialists who are specifically educated in the kind of strain associated with sports activities. It can help encourage healing, manage injuries, and prevent injuries altogether.
Vestibular Rehabilitation focuses on helping individuals restore total body balance. Realigning body balance can increase overall physical function and lead to a sturdier build of the body – all of which are important in everyday activities.
Rehabilitation and Pain Management
Through customized treatments, physiotherapy can help eliminate pain, including pain following an injury or surgery. It can also be used to strengthen the body before surgery to reduce any damages and make the recovery period easier. It can also help after surgery to regain complete mobility.
What Do Physiotherapists Do?
PTs employ the science of movement and know how to pinpoint the root cause of pain due to injury, illness, disease, or aging. Their goal is to use an integrative health approach to improve the patient’s quality of life.
They do so by assessing the patient’s physical condition, diagnosing the issue, and implementing a treatment plan.
These individuals are highly trained and must register with the regulatory body in the province or territory where they work. In Canada, the Canadian Alliance of Physiotherapy Regulators (CAPR) evaluates educational credentials and administers exams for competency.
When is Physical Therapy Recommended?
Therapy and treatment is generally recommended by your general practitioner if you are suffering an injury, especially an injury that is caused by underlying actors. For example, constant back pain can be caused by a number of things including improper warm-ups at the gym or slouching at your computer.
The “whole-body” approach taken aims to reduce not only the pain and immobility caused by injury but to ensure the injury does not happen again.
Common conditions that require treatment include:
- Work-related injuries
- Sports injuries
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Join and muscle sprains
- Lower back and neck pain
- Plantar fasciitis
The Bottom Line
If you find your life is restricted due to pain or mobility issues, it is recommended that you speak to your medical practitioner or physiotherapist to strategize a treatment plan to help you heal your body and get back to living your life!