Physiotherapy is an allied health profession administered by physiotherapists to treat any injury or illness that impacts an individual’s ability to move or perform functional daily activities. Physiotherapists will often analyze the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical examination to determine a suitable diagnosis and treatment plan. As physiotherapists are experts on human movement their goal is to determine and alleviate the root causes of the pain. However, physiotherapists can only diagnose disorders or diseases associated with the musculoskeletal system. Often, and when needed, they physiotherapists will use laboratory tests such as X-rays to determine the most appropriate treatment. As such it is important to seek out a licensed physiotherapist if interested in receiving this treatment.
The physiotherapy treatment itself often includes specific exercises that are prescribed to do at home or are done with assistance. They also often use a technique referred to as manual therapy which involves joint mobilization, kneading and manipulation of muscles and joint manipulation. Physiotherapists may also implement technology into the treatment plan such as using soundwaves. Additionally, physiotherapists often help prevent loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and health-oriented programs. Physiotherapy is believed to have been around since 460 BC, with physicians like Hippocrates who advocated for hydrotherapy, massages and manual therapy techniques as potential treatments. Now it is used globally and contains several different specialty areas such as cardiovascular, geriatric, neurology and many more. As more research is done on the benefits of physiotherapy, I expect it to expand into even more fields of medicine.
Physiotherapy can be tried by anyone of any age. Even without a disorder, physiotherapy can be used to prevent future mobility issues or chronic pain. For example, it may be useful to consult with a physiotherapist if you have a family history of arthritis. If currently experiencing mobility issues or chronic pain it is suggested to first consult with your doctor to ensure you are not experiencing something that requires immediate treatment. However, because physiotherapy is well researched, many doctors will prescribe physiotherapy as a treatment.
If interested in physiotherapy as a treatment it is important to consider the fact that the treatment may be expensive and often involves multiple appointments. As such make sure to inquire with your insurance to see if it is covered. I really enjoy the preventative aspect of physiotherapy as there are not many treatments that exist used to prevent illnesses. In our society, we are given little time to research physical activity which we really need considering a lot of us spend most of the day sitting down at work or at school which is extremely unhealthy for our bodies. As such, physiotherapy is a great way to prevent the eventually expected deterioration of bodies as we age. However, it is often also extremely useful for mobility issues caused by injury such as a car accident. Often, when we severely damage an area of our body greatly, we never fully recover the mobility we once had. Physiotherapy can help bring our bodies to where they were prior to injury.