Physiotherapy is a type of treatment that uses exercises and massages to increase strength and mobility. It may also use treatments based on physical stimuli such as heat, cold, electrical currents and ultrasound.
A physiotherapist can help a patient recover after an injury or surgery, and improve their overall quality of life. They can help with balance and strength, as well as prevent falls.
Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are injuries to the body’s soft tissues—tendons, ligaments, and muscles. They often occur when performing work-related tasks and can lead to pain, swelling, weakness, and limited range of motion. The most common types of MSDs include sprains and strains, chronic back problems, osteoarthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
A physiotherapist can help you recover from these disorders. They use physical procedures to improve your movement and enhance your ability to perform daily activities. They can also teach you how to prevent these disorders from recurring.
Some of these physical procedures include the use of cold and hot therapies, stretching, massage, and joint manipulations. They can also provide electrical stimulation to improve the strength and function of muscles in your legs, arms, hands, or feet. Another method they use is blood flow restriction therapy (BFR) by wrapping a cuff or band around the limb to partially restrict blood flow to encourage muscle growth and reduce inflammation.
Injuries to the bones, joints, and muscles are among the most frequent causes of disability worldwide. These conditions can result from injuries or illness, and sometimes they are aggravated by lifestyle factors such as poor posture. With improved global longevity, musculoskeletal disorders are becoming more common in older people as well. Moreover, they can be the result of age-related wear and tear or sequelae of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Your body has more than 650 voluntary (skeletal) muscles, which you use to move your arms, legs and face. Neuromuscular disorders disrupt the nerves that control these muscles and cause muscle weakness, twitching, pain and difficulty moving. These conditions often start in childhood or adulthood and may be caused by a genetic mutation, or as a side effect of some health conditions such as autoimmune disorders.
Some common examples include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), muscular dystrophy and myopathies. In these conditions, the nerve cells that control your muscles become diseased and eventually die. This causes progressive muscle weakness. Other symptoms include breathing difficulties, swallowing problems and loss of muscle bulk, or atrophy.
Physiotherapy can improve your quality of life and delay progression of these diseases. It includes a combination of techniques, including exercise therapy, manual treatment techniques such as stretching and myofascial release, functional mobility drills, gait training, balance drills and therapeutic exercises.
In some cases, these treatments include medications such as immunosuppressive drugs that decrease your immune system’s activity. Some of these medicines are used to treat a group of conditions called neuromuscular immune-mediated disorders, such as dermatomyositis, polymyositis, inclusion body myositis and myasthenia gravis. In these conditions, the immune system attacks and destroys the fatty insulation around your nerves, which slows or stops nerve signals to your muscles.
Cardiovascular disease refers to any problem with the heart or blood vessels. It includes conditions such as coronary artery disease (which causes blockages in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart), heart valve problems, arrhythmias, and others. Some types of cardiovascular disease are present at birth (congenital heart diseases). Others may develop from aging, other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, or lifestyle habits such as smoking or poor diet.
Symptoms of cardiac disorders include chest pain or discomfort, breathlessness, weakness, or fainting episodes. You should see your doctor if you have one or more of these symptoms, especially if they happen often or get worse over time. A complete medical history and physical examination are important. You may also need selected noninvasive and invasive tests to diagnose some cardiac disorders.
Some cardiac conditions can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices. These include eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and controlling risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and being overweight. You should also avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol use. Cardiovascular disease can be treated with medications, procedures or surgery. For example, you might need a stent to open up narrowed arteries, or you might need medication or other treatments to treat an irregular heart rhythm called an arrhythmia.
Rehabilitation is a general term that refers to any treatment or program to help people recover from injury, surgery, chronic health conditions and even diseases like multiple sclerosis. It is generally a treatment regimen created for a patient to return to normal life activities and may be done in an outpatient or inpatient rehabilitation program.
Physical rehabilitation is a specific treatment that includes physiotherapy and is aimed at restoring function to those with physical limitations or impairments. This is done by evaluating the individual and developing a plan to get them back into their normal activities and help reduce pain. Often, this is a very intensive and highly structured program that can be carried out in the hospital and also at home, depending on the extent of the injuries or illness.
Physiotherapy is the most common part of rehabilitation and involves exercise, massage and treatments based on physical stimuli such as heat, cold, electrical currents or ultrasound. They aim to relieve pain, help patients move more easily and strengthen weakened muscles. It’s an important part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program and many statutory health insurers cover the costs of prescribed physical therapy.
In addition to physiotherapy, other types of rehabilitation treatments include occupational therapy and speech therapy. Occupational therapy helps individuals to regain the ability to perform everyday tasks such as preparing food or holding items. It also helps with more complex tasks like using assistive devices, addressing underlying health issues, modifying the environment and teaching self-management strategies.