Physiotherapy is a form of treatment that can help improve mobility and function. Physiotherapists use a variety of treatments and techniques to help patients reach their goals. Some of the treatments that physiotherapists often use include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, modalities, and education.
Each patient’s treatment plan will be customized to meet their specific needs. If you are looking for relief from pain or improved mobility, physiotherapy may be the right treatment for you.
Here we’ll learn about the different types of treatments physiotherapists can offer and a look at the latest techniques. Let’s get started!
Types of Physiotherapy
Geriatric Physical Therapy
This type of physiotherapy assists older adults as they go through the aging process. During this time, the metabolism of their body starts slowing down, thus, causing a few problems.
Geriatric physiotherapy is vital in maintaining your health as you age. It can be beneficial in helping you maintain flexibility while decreasing the chances of injuries and accidents in the future. Additionally, it can be ideal for treating age-related concerns like Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and loss of mobility.
Geriatric physiotherapy includes treatments for improving mobility, restoring your overall health, and alleviating pain.
Sports Physical Therapy
Injuries are a common thing among athletes, so they sometimes go through surgery to solve the problem. Sports physical therapy can help athletes recover from injuries to regain mobility and strength.
This type of physiotherapy is a special category focusing on athletes and sports professionals. Physiotherapists under this branch dedicate their expertise in assessing and treating injuries linked to exercise.
The goal is to get athletes back to their full form while eliminating any pain they may feel. Physiotherapists also focus on the performance and development of their patients.
This branch of physiotherapy is a practice focusing on correcting deformities or functional impairments to a person’s skeletal system. It specifically focuses on an individual’s extremities, spine, or other linked structures like the ligaments and muscles. Essentially, physiotherapists focus on a person’s musculoskeletal system.
You can benefit from this kind of physiotherapy if you’re possibly undergoing surgery or have been injured. These occurrences are likely due to sports-related injuries, a fall, or issues caused by the constant use of joints.
The treatments for this type of physiotherapy involve helping you build your strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Additionally, it’s to help you get back on track to enjoy life like usual.
Pediatric Physical Therapy
This specific type of physiotherapy focuses on the needs of children, infants, toddlers, and even adolescents. Children with various developmental, neuromuscular, or skeletal disorders can benefit from it.
Pediatric physiotherapy’s goal is to improve fine and gross motor skills and alleviate pain in children. It also helps regain strength and range of motion while promoting better cognitive processes.
Early detection is better when children experience issues inhibiting their natural learning and movement. Also, pediatric physical therapy is ideal for children who suffer from issues such as the following:
- Birth defects
- Acute injuries
- Developmental delays
- Head trauma
- Genetic disorders like cerebral palsy, etc.
- Limb deficiencies
- Orthopaedic disabilities
- Muscle diseases
Physiotherapists use therapeutic methods like exercises, treatments, and modalities to help alleviate the pain felt by children. It also helps them regain strength & range of motion while mastering the proper body mechanics for flexibility and balance. Additionally, the practice improves fine and gross motor skills.
What Do Physiotherapists Do?
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises
During the preliminary stages of physiotherapy, rest is often suggested to recover from broken bones or surgery. However, longer periods of immobility and lessened activities may prolong or even hinder the healing process.
For this reason, physios often prescribe a number of motion exercises for promoting movement, facilitating circulation, and encouraging joint mobility.
Frequently moving the affected muscles and joints prevents muscle atrophy and other posture-related concerns. This is why healthcare practitioners take advantage of a range of ROM exercises.
An example would be this: students learn numerous motion techniques in personal support training. It’s to help those with restricted mobility by enhancing their flexibility while maintaining their independence.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue mobilization or therapeutic massage can help relax the muscles while reducing swelling in some areas. The process makes it ideal for relieving pain linked to athletic injuries. Additionally, therapeutic massages can help regulate lymph and blood flow. Plus, it reduces tissue swelling along inflamed areas.
This is when electrical energy is used as a medical treatment. In medicine, the term electrotherapy can be applied to different treatments. These include using different electrical devices like deep brain stimulators specific for neurological diseases.
You can consider this therapy a more current progression of energy-based physiotherapy methods. Electrical simulation is offered for this treatment by connecting electrodes to the person’s skin. The electrodes cause muscles to shorten, thus, helps prevent atrophy.
This method is ideal for patients suffering from paralysis or those dealing with reduced motion range. Electrotherapy can also be utilized in conjunction with ultrasound and laser therapy.
Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy
Stiff and sore muscles is a common issue among athletes and people with desk jobs. If someone complains of muscle tightness on their body, it’s ideal to apply cold or heat to these specific areas.
Cryotherapy involves applying ice packs or providing an ice massage. For heat therapy, it includes the application of paraffin wax or hot packs.
The method is a therapeutic taping process that helps alleviate pain. It also encourages lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. The lifting process forms convolutions on the skin to boost interstitial space while decreasing inflammation in certain areas.
Kinesio Taping can be taken advantage of in numerous ways and effectively reduce pain and inflammation. It ideally promotes post-surgical healing, enhances performance, promotes good circulation, prevents injuries, and helps with the body’s natural healing process.
Based on studies and years of clinical usage, Kinesio Taping applies Kinesio tape according to a patient’s evaluation and assessment. The process dictates a specific application appropriate for the person’s needs.
While ultrasound isn’t usually linked to physiotherapy, in recent years, doctors started using sound waves to treat bodily injuries. Ultrasound frequency offers a gentle process for targeting damaged tissues using soft beams.
Like mini massages, the sound waves of ultrasounds stimulate, then are absorbed by the tendons, ligaments, and fascia. The treatment can be ideal for patients who suffer from tendonitis, arthritis, and muscle strains.
Pain rehabilitation and management are vital elements of physiotherapy. It can help patients eliminate pain and aches in the body.
Rehabilitation treatment plans are often customized to cater to a patient’s specific needs and requirements. It ranges from helping the individual get back on their feet after minor surgeries to controlling all kinds of pain.
Latest Physiotherapy Techniques
Physiotherapy is a continuously changing practice constantly adapting to new research. While beneficial for the elderly, physiotherapy is also ideal for people recovering from surgery. It’s even great for individuals experiencing intense musculoskeletal issues.
Simply put, the practice evolved and is now able to treat a vast number of musculoskeletal conditions. Physiotherapy can even be used to prevent injuries and pain from happening. Everyone from professionals working desk jobs to experienced athletes can benefit from today’s modern physiotherapy approach.
To better understand the latest physiotherapy techniques, we listed some of the best treatments that most people aren’t aware of.
Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Therapy
BFR is continuously growing popular in the fitness and physiotherapy world since it helps people recover faster and more effectively. It’s a strength-training method beneficial for people who want to boost muscular endurance and strength. However, it’s also ideal for people, like the elderly, who can’t handle heavy-weight loads.
Others who can benefit from the therapy include people with chronic diseases and/or individuals going through rehab from surgery/injury.
BFR partially restricts blood flow from one limb to the heart via elastic band or cuff. The blockage will deprive the muscle tissues of oxygen. Then, it will result in a blood pool similar to what you’d experience after an intense workout.
The occurrence will help stimulate muscle growth allowing patients to build muscle even when using lighter weights. The result makes BFR a highly-effective and safe process under the assistance of a certified physiotherapist.
Trigger Point Dry Needling
If you’re experiencing stubborn pains, aches, or frequent muscle tightness/pulled muscles, dry needling may be the solution.
When your muscles are overused or strained, it can develop knot-like parts called myofascial trigger points. These can cause pain, stiffness, or even other concerns.
Here, the physiotherapist inserts a thin monofilament needle into the triggered area of the muscle. Doing so will cause the muscle to contract, loosen, and then release to relieve the problem area. Often, the process activates the brain that releases endorphins.
Vestibular & Balance Therapy
Vestibular problems which include dizziness, vertigo, and other spatial and balance-related problems, can hinder regular daily activities. Such activities include driving, doing computer-related work, or even focusing on daily chores around the home.
Physiotherapists determine the cause of such issues by undergoing various tests that include assessing vestibular and visual systems. From there, they perform a screen test related to movement and balance.
The tests will gauge and determine sensations, extremity & spine range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, balance, posture, and walking. These help determine the cause of the entire ordeal.
Based on their findings, the physiotherapist will provide a custom exercise-based treatment program for the patient. It will help decrease the symptoms while addressing the causes. Aside from these, physios will also share ways to identify the symptoms when an individual does their daily activities outside the clinic.
Generally, vestibular problems can be frustrating, but luckily, physiotherapists are available to help with your concerns.
Is Physiotherapy a Treatment?
Yes, it’s a form of treatment to maintain, restore, and make the most of your function, mobility, and well-being. It helps you throughout the physical rehabilitation process, injury prevention, plus health & fitness development.
Physiotherapy plays a vital role in treating a lot of health issues faced by individuals of all ages. It’s a great way to heal your body while ensuring these issues don’t recur.
What are Some Examples of Different Types of Physiotherapy Clinics?
There are numerous physiotherapists around and some of them include orthopaedic, cardio-respiratory, pediatric/kids, women’s health, pelvic floor, neuro physiotherapists, and more.