Physiotherapy is a process used in treating a variety of physical problems, such as pain in the neck, back or extremities, limitations caused by certain neurological conditions and various limitations following surgery. Many of these conditions are caused by joint misalignment and muscle weakness, imbalance or tightness, especially as we grow older.
What physiotherapy can do for you
In most cases, this kind of treatment is designed to begin by reducing the patients' pain and swelling. After that, the goal is to increase their flexibility, strength and endurance, based on their physical condition, which will enable them to perform their normal daily activities and tasks. Following treatment, you may experience slight swelling or soreness, and you should mention this to your physiotherapist, who will make necessary adjustments in future sessions. In addition, since this process is ongoing, the risk of any injury or problem resulting from having physiotherapy is virtually nonexistent.
What you can expect
To start, your therapist will complete a physical examination and review your medical history. Based on your symptoms or diagnosis, they will probably want to evaluate your strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, posture, respiration and heart rate. They may also want to observe how you rise from a prone position and the way in which you walk, as well as how you position yourself when performing certain activities. At that point, your physiotherapist will help you to determine the goals for your treatment and begin planning for it.
Note that your treatment sessions will vary, based on the progress you are making and the symptoms you exhibit. Generally speaking, each session consists of a warm-up period, followed by exercises to strengthen or stretch the area being treated, based on the patient's needs. When the situation calls for it, therapists also perform manual therapy, such as working on the body's soft tissue, mobilizing or stretching the joints, and using electrical stimulation and mechanical traction to control the patient's pain.
Your physiotherapist will also determine if you need any special equipment, including crutches, splints or special footwear, as part of your treatment. If equipment is called for, they can either tell you how to obtain it or order it for you.
Note that along with the specialized treatment you will receive, your therapist will probably make some recommendation regarding your general health, such as maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) or exercising regularly to the extent that you can. These professionals often take a holistic approach to dealing with medical problems, along with providing treatment for a patient's specific illness or injury.
Learning what you should do
It is also likely that education will be an essential part of your treatment. For example, your therapist may provide instruction regarding correct body mechanics, using special equipment when that is required, and following an exercise program at home to hasten your recovery. They will also check periodically to see how well you are developing the skills you need to accomplish the goals of your treatment.