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Physiotherapy; How it Works and What Are the Benefits?

Physiotherapy is a hand-on manual approach to keep muscles and joints active and mobile.

In the pursuit of regaining optimal health and well-being after injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions, physiotherapy plays a vital role in helping individuals.

This specialized form of treatment focuses on maximizing physical function and mobility through various therapeutic techniques while involving the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal, neurological, and spinal disorders.

Whether you’re an athlete recovering from a sports injury or someone seeking relief from chronic pain, physiotherapy offers a range of benefits to restore your well-being.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of physiotherapy, highlighting its benefits and importance in promoting healing and wellness.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is the science and practice of body mechanics, body movement as it corresponds to injury, movement limitations, disability, stiffness and pain.

Furthermore, physiotherapy is also a preventative therapy and through a combination of manual therapy and exercise therapy, it can teach patients to avoid injuries by improving their flexibility and strength.

Physiotherapists use manual therapy techniques to help patients regain their health.

Who is a Physiotherapist?

A physiotherapist is someone who is trained in the body’s mechanics and human movement as it pertains to injury, movement limitations, disability as well as pain.

Physiotherapists have training and a deep understanding of various injuries affecting the body and understand the treatment protocols and rehabilitation phases to help an individual heal from their illness or injury.

What Conditions Can Physiotherapy Treat?

There are a wide range of musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiovascular issues that can effectively be treated by physiotherapy.

Conditions physiotherapy can treat include:

  • Musculoskeletal Conditions: back pain, arthritis, sports injuries, plantar fasciitis, etc.
  • Neurological Conditions: strokes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Parkinson disease, etc.
  • Cardiovascular Conditions: COPD, heart disease, etc.

We are going to focus on musculoskeletal problems here in this article and discuss them in detail.

Arthritis

Arthritis causes joint inflammation, leading to pain and restricted movement. Physiotherapy interventions, such as joint mobilization, aquatic therapy, and heat/cold therapy, can help manage arthritis symptoms and improve joint function.

The treatment aims to reduce pain, increase joint flexibility, and enhance overall quality of life.

Sports Injuries

Athletes frequently encounter sports-related injuries, including sprains, strains, and fractures.

Physiotherapy plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process, focusing on restoring mobility, strength, and flexibility. Techniques like ultrasound therapy, taping, and targeted exercises aid in the recovery and prevention of future injuries.

Whiplash from Car Accidents

Car accidents can cause whiplash of the neck or jarring in the lower back and shoulders from holding the steering wheel.

Physiotherapy can help treat these conditions using a manual therapy and rehabilitative approach.

Back Pain

Back pain is a common condition that affects people of all ages. Physiotherapy can help alleviate back pain by targeting the underlying causes, such as muscle imbalances, poor posture, or spinal disc problems.

Treatment approaches may include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and postural correction techniques.

Plantar Fasciitis

A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to diagnose plantar fasciitis (pain at the bottom of the foot, aka heel pain) accurately.

They will evaluate your symptoms, examine your foot and ankle, and may request imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound, to rule out other conditions.

Work-related Injuries

Examples include lower back pain or shoulder pain from improper lifting at work or prolonged and sustained undesirable positions can result in pain and loss of mobility that can be treated with physiotherapy.

What Techniques Do Physiotherapists Use?

Physiotherapy techniques include both active and passive approaches. Examples of passive approaches are:

Furthermore, modalities such as IMS, ultrasound, shockwave and laser therapy can be used to further speed up the healing process when appropriate.

Active therapies include:

  • Guidance to self stretching and strengthening
  • Rehabilitative therapies
  • Self guided joint mobilization

Range of Motion Exercise

A misconception many individuals believe is that resting is beneficial when injured or undergoing surgery, however prolonged rest can be quite negative on your body during recovery.

Physiotherapists will provide you with different exercises to perform to maintain or work towards restoring mobility and improving circulation.

Doing so prevents muscle atrophy and postural abnormalities.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

The purpose of this technique is to release tension or relax the muscle, perhaps even decrease swelling in an area.

Another benefit from this technique is that it promotes circulation, lymph flow and decreases tissue swelling around inflamed joints.

Electrotherapy

Electrical stimulation occurs when electrodes are attached to the skin causing the muscle to shorten or contract to prevent muscle atrophy.

This technique is best used on patients with acute pain that can not tolerate too much movement at their joints.

Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy

Cryotherapy is the use of an ice or cold pack application on tissues while heat therapy is the use of hot packs or paraffin wax on tissues to achieve different results.

Kinesio Taping

Taping is used to stabilize joints and support muscles while a patient undergoes treatment or rehab. It can be applied directly to the skin and due to the durability of the tape, it does not limit an individual’s mobility.

Therapeutic Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a gentle, pain free approach to work on damaged tissues using sound waves. The waves provide a deep heat to the injured tissue which stimulates their healing.

What is the Difference Between Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy?

Physiotherapy and physical therapy are terms that are used interchangeably and often refer to the same profession.

PhysiotherapyPhysical Therapy
More common in Europe, Canada, and AustraliaMore common in the United States
Focuses on manual therapyFocuses on exercise-based therapy
May have a broader scope of practice than physical therapistsMay have a narrower scope of practice than physiotherapists

What to Expect in a Physiotherapy Session?

Before you come in for your physiotherapy session at Fulcrum Therapy, we highly recommend to fill your intake form or arrive 10 minutes early before your appointment to fill the form.

This detailed form allows the physiotherapist to familiarize themselves with your primary concerns and health background. The physiotherapist will meet you at the reception and take you to the treatment room.

For the first session, you will be asked questions as it pertains to your primary concerns. The physiotherapist will conduct a physical assessment to better understand your body’s dysfunction and pain.

Treatment is provided during the same visit and can consist of various methods such as manual therapy, electrical modalities, exercise prescription for home care as well as education and advice.

Follow up appointments are highly recommended for the physiotherapist to assess your response to the treatment and to make further modification to your treatment plan if necessary to ensure a speedy recovery.

Why Choose Fulcrum Therapy Physio Treatment?

At Fulcrum, we are a dedicated team of practitioners that focuses on quality care through compassion and evidence based treatments.

Our physiotherapists are experienced, knowledgeable and are committed to your healing.

We work collaboratively with other practitioners at our clinic such as exercise therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists to ensure you are provided with a well rounded treatment plan and will make the necessary referrals if we believe it would be of benefit to your injury recovery.

Book with us today and find out about our talented team and incredible team environment for yourself.

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