Many of us experience intermittent aches and pains.
Often these symptoms are benign and recover in time.
However, whether you’ve twisted an ankle or suffer from posture-related back pain, sometimes the body needs help to heal.
That’s where physiotherapy comes in.
Instead of allowing an injury to stagnate or deteriorate, it’s often advisable to consult a qualified physiotherapist, who can ensure there’s no serious underlying pathology and provide specialist treatment for a speedy recovery.
What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy addresses illness, injury or disability with treatments such as advice, education, movement, exercise, manual therapy and electrotherapy.
What Are the Different Types of Physiotherapy?
There are various physiotherapy specialities depending on the type of injury or disability being treated.
Musculoskeletal physiotherapy deals with soft tissue, bones and joints and is responsible for treating anything from a sports injury, muscle strain or slipped disc.
For individuals who’ve suffered from a stroke or a condition like Multiple Sclerosis, there’s neurological physiotherapy, responsible for maximising a persons quality of life and ability to cope with activities of daily living.
For those that have breathing issues, there’s respiratory physiotherapy, tackling illnesses such as bronchitis and emphysema, in addition to other chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
Physiotherapists also work in various hospital departments, from orthopaedics, helping patients rehabilitate post-surgery, to healthcare of the elderly.
Who Is It For?
While the most publicised uses of treatment are in football teams, you don’t have to be an elite athlete to benefit from an assessment.
The truth is that anyone at any age can benefit from physiotherapy.
Even if it doesn’t result in treatment, a physiotherapist can provide the education and advice you need to begin your recovery.
What Conditions Do Physiotherapists Treat?
Many people suffer from aches and pains that they put up with on daily basis. Unfortunately, such problems, if not addressed, can become worse over time and lead to chronic issues that are difficult to cure. Here are just some of the conditions a musculoskeletal physiotherapist can help with:
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Slipped discs
- Joint pains
- Muscle strains
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle tightness
- Ankle sprains
- Tennis elbow
What Treatments Are Available?
Various treatments are administered by physiotherapists depending on the condition. A detailed initial assessment is required to understand the cause of the problem and diagnose any structures which may be responsible for symptoms.
Once the condition has been identified, a treatment plan can be formulated.
This should always start with education about the problem and what you, as a patient, can do to self-manage. Often, disorders are caused by lifestyle factors and may include physical factors like posture and biomechanics or psychological issues like stress and anxiety.
Being aware of how these issues contribute to the problem allows patients to address the root problem and thereby prevent recurrence.
Once these building blocks are in place, other forms of treatment can be introduced. The most effective treatment is exercise based.
This empowers patients to take charge of the problem and be an active participant in their recovery. A custom exercise programme provides more flexibility and strength for soft tissues and joints.
Additional treatments can speed up the recovery process, and these include:
- Joint and soft tissue mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Electrotherapy, including ultrasound, shortwave diathermy and TENS
Alternative therapy might be employed by trained physiotherapists, including acupuncture and cupping.
How Many Physiotherapy Sessions Will I Need?
That depends on the condition. Chronic conditions or postoperative physiotherapy may require more sessions for a full recovery.
A typical course of treatment may range between 4-8 sessions. This should provide adequate time for a physiotherapist to administer therapy and judge any improvement.
If there’s no improvement over this time, that may be a signal for the therapist to utilise a different treatment approach, or for a patient to continue with their exercise programme over a longer period.
How Long Will It Take Me to Get Better?
It varies from person to person and is very condition-dependant.
Patient mindset plays a vital role in the recovery process. Anyone who’s invested in playing an active role in their recovery, and is diligent with their self-management and exercise programme, will invariably experience a quicker recovery.If there’s no improvement over this time, that may be a signal for the therapist to utilise a different treatment approach, or for a patient to continue with their exercise programme over a longer period.
Are you having issues that could be helped with physiotherapy? If so, you might benefit from assessment and treatment in our Exeter clinic. Click here to find out more about our Exeter physiotherapy services.