The Different Physiotherapy Techniques & Approaches

Patients who are injured, ill or disabled may find that they can benefit from the services of a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists aim to restore a person’s movement and function to its optimal level. Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy or P.T., takes a holistic approach to healing, in the sense that the patient is actively involved in his own care.

Physiotherapists are professionals who have studied and trained in the healthcare field. There are a variety of areas in which they can specialize. These include education and health promotion, care of the elderly, pediatrics, workplace health, sports, orthopedics and trauma, recovery after major surgery, gender-specific health issues (such as incontinence), long-term conditions, neurology (including stroke), mental health and intensive care. Many physiotherapists work as part of a team that spans several of these areas. Physiotherapists can be found practicing in public and private hospitals, workplaces, charitable organizations, sports clinics, athletic teams and community-based organizations.

Physiotherapists provide therapy in four main areas of the body’s functioning: respiratory, cardiovascular, neuromuscular and musculoskeletal. The respiratory system refers to the breathing organs, such as the lungs, larynx and windpipe. The cardiovascular system deals with the heart and blood circulation. The neuromuscular system involves the brain and nervous system. Bones, joints and soft tissue are all included in the musculoskeletal system. Physiotherapy can help with more areas of the body’s functioning than many people realize.

There are a variety of approaches and techniques that physiotherapists utilize in helping their patients recover from surgery or regain movement and function in their joints and muscles. Exercise and movement is the most obvious one, and it’s important for the therapist to take into account the patient’s current health, physical fitness and any special requirements. Manual therapy techniques involve the physiotherapist using her hands (such as by massage) to relieve stiffness or pain and get blood flowing in a particular part of the body.

Aquatic therapy is when the movement or exercises are conducted in a shallow swimming pool or hydrotherapy pool. This type of therapy can often be enjoyable and uniquely effective because of the specialized properties of water that allow even the elderly to experience a wider range of motion. Other physiotherapy techniques include acupuncture, as well as the application of heat and cold to ease pain.

Back pain is the most common ailment that physiotherapists deal with, as it affects 80 percent of the population at some point in their lives. Back pain can be caused by things like lifting or carrying an object incorrectly, standing for long periods of time, overstretching, twisting or bending awkwardly, an inherited spinal deformity or simply having poor posture.

A physiotherapist will take into account your particular case before recommending a treatment, as well as suggesting ways to alleviate discomfort and pain yourself on a daily basis. For example, lower back pain is extremely common, and a physiotherapist may suggest some core stability exercises, as well as showing you how to improve your posture, in order to strengthen your lower back and stomach muscles.

Using Physiotherapy to Treat Back Pain

Back Pain is Prevalent

Back pain, particularly lower back pain, is very prevalent world-wide. It affects millions of people across the world and, in fact, some estimates claim between 60 and 80 percent of people are affected by back pain within their lives. Back pain can be acute and sharp, coming on suddenly and lasting for a few days to a few weeks, or it can be a chronic problem. When back pain lasts for more than three months, it is considered chronic. Chronic back pain is often described as a constant, dull pain.

What Causes Back Pain?

Back pain can be caused by many various things, but the most common causes involve aging, stress, illness, injury, and disease. Lack of exercise can also cause the back to become weak and increase pain in the area. When the vertebrae, discs, muscles, and ligaments in the back are not working in coordination with each other properly, pain is often the result, whether it is acute pain or a dull, chronic problem.

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy, otherwise known as physical therapy, is the treatment of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of functional ability, mobility, and quality of life. It can also be defined as the process by which ill, injured, or disabled individuals are assisted in recovering function and movement via a holistic approach, thereby improving their quality of life and relieving pain. Physical therapy is performed by educated and informed physical therapists who consult with patients and decide what types of physical interventions the patients may benefit from in order to relieve their pain and restore mobility. It can include various treatments such as massage, application of heat and/or cold, stretching, exercise, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, and acupuncture. A physical therapist looks carefully at a patient’s diagnosis and comes up with a plan involving treatments specific to the patient.

Can Physiotherapy Help Back Pain?

Physiotherapy is an excellent treatment for back pain because it provides a holistic approach and goes a long way in restoring movement and relieving pain in many people. It can also reduce or eliminate the need for pain-relieving medications. The physiotherapist will examine your lifestyle and assess your mobility. He or she will assess where your weaknesses lie, observe your movement, and try to pinpoint what types of movements are aggravating your back. Then, a physical therapy plan is proposed in order to help alleviate the back pain.

Massage and other treatments one may encounter during physical therapy, such as the application of heat on the location of the pain, encourage and increase blood and fluid circulation, reduce swelling, and ease pain. Strengthening exercises make the back stronger, restoring movement and flexibility. Various stretching exercises can greatly relieve back pain, particularly lower back pain, and also work to strengthen the back and increase flexibility. These treatments and many others work in combination to achieve alleviation of back pain.