If you’ve ever suffered from an injury – such as a back injury, knee injury, or have injured another part of your body – then you know that it can sometimes take a bit of time before your body is back to feeling like it was before that injury occurred; and, in some cases, you might never fully get back to feeling 100%. Things like pain medications, such as anti-inflammatories, and other over-the-counter products such as ointments and numbing agents, can and do provide relief, but they’re only a temporary band-aid. In the event that you do develop an injury and don’t heal within the timeframe expected, or your pain worsens, that’s where a physiotherapist comes in.
A physiotherapist is a trained professional who works to help patients regain ability, as well as treat different diseases and disorders, through different types of physical manipulation. While most people think that physiotherapists strictly work with muscle and other sport-related injuries, they’re actually adept in many different areas and treat individuals of all ages – from children, to adults, to seniors. There are also generally three different classifications of physiotherapy:
Musculoskeletal physiotherapy, which is the most common type of physiotherapy today, treats things like arthritis, sprains and strains, back pain, sports injuries, workplace injuries, and bursitis. Individuals who have had surgery may experience reduced mobility post-op, and will sometimes require musculoskeletal physiotherapy as a result. Neurological physiotherapy treats certain disorders associated with the nervous system – for example, patients who’ve had strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and acquired brain injuries. Cardiothoracic physiotherapy is used to help treat things like emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory-related disorders. The main goal of a physiotherapist to improve a patient’s quality of life by restoring their function, and alleviating pain, and reducing symptoms. If the patient has a permanent injury, then they work to reduce the effects of any dysfunction they might be experiencing.
The type of physiotherapy that someone will receive depends solely on their requirements. Physiotherapy can be manual, which may include things like stretching, resistance training, spinal mobilization, as well as joint manipulation, or it can also include electrotherapy techniques consisting of ultrasound, laser therapy, and more commonly, TENS – also known as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. When it comes to actually receiving physiotherapy, the biggest misconception people have is that that they think they will feel better immediately following treatment, when in fact it’s not at all uncommon for symptoms to intensify following your first session. When a patient decides to enter into physiotherapy, it is usually because the methods they’ve tried themselves haven’t been successful. A physiotherapist, on the other hand, has different approach to their techniques, and they are techniques and certain manipulations that the body may not be used to, hence why it’s normal to have some discomfort during the first few sessions. Once your body starts to get used to those new techniques, the pain eventually decreases.
Generally, physiotherapy sessions last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on the injury and area of the body that is being worked on. Similarly, how many physiotherapy sessions a person needs also depends on those same circumstances.