Physiotherapy Treatment Techniques
Just as every case differs, so does the treatment that’s needed. Physiotherapists are there to help those suffering the effects of injury, disease or illness, fight or cope with pain, discomfort or a lack of mobility. In every instance, they are called on to put together a regimen drawn from a wide range of techniques, but based on individual situations and needs.
Therapy is first of all aimed at relieving pain and restoring maximum function in order that patients can return to their normal lives. This involves rehabilitation following injury, and/or setting up pain management systems for those suffering from debilitating diseases.
Physiotherapists will find themselves dealing with those who are basically healthy, like sportsmen injured during a game, for whom quick and intense rehabilitation is necessary. But they will also encounter those dealing with degenerative or chronic illnesses such as Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis, among others. For these people, pain management and coping systems are vital.
Manual Therapy: Massage and manipulation are the cornerstone of physiotherapy.
Application of heat and ice: Ice has the effect of constricting the blood vessels which helps combat inflammation and swelling after injury. Cold packs also improve joint mobility, which can increase the effectiveness of manual therapy.
Heat, on the other hand, can relieve pain and make soft tissue like the muscles, ligaments and tendons, more pliable. In some instances these therapies are used individually and in others, are alternated.
Taping: Therapeutic tape is applied to certain areas to encourage recovery and provide support.
Electro- therapeutic treatments: Light, sound and electricity play a big role in physiotherapy. Sound waves (Ultrasound) create heat within the body to loosen up tissue. Light, in the form of lasers, can help reduce pain and inflammation while targeted pulses of low level electricity are used to stimulate the muscles in order to restore muscle function.
Traction: Particularly effective in the treatment of herniated lumbar discs, traction can alleviate the pain without surgery and a long recovery period. By stretching the back, traction is able to separate vertebrae and relieve constriction and compression on the nerves which run down the spine.
Exercises: Exercise improves mobility and balance. It also increases flexibility, while building strength and stamina. The choice of exercises is based on your injury or condition, and the degree of severity involved. Done under guidance at the physiotherapist’s rooms, they are highly likely to also be included in a home program during treatment, and as part of a management regimen afterwards in order to prevent a recurrence of pain.
Self-management training: Healing from injury, or managing pain in the long term, cannot be applied as a quick and permanent fix. It is a process which involves personal co-operation and involvement. A rehabilitation process is intended to bring about a return to normal function as soon as possible but maintaining that independence and quality of function will require ongoing effort.
Physiotherapists will educate and help with regard to developing a programme which will go a long way towards keeping the pain at bay and, hopefully, prevent its recurrence.