Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that assesses, diagnoses, treats, and works to prevent disease and disability through physical means. Physio, as it is often referred to, uses physical methods, such as massage and manipulation, to promote healing and overall wellbeing. Often used as a facet of treatment following an injury or illness, physiotherapy treatments can be used to restore a person’s range of movement and generally increase their quality of life.

1. Who are physiotherapists?

A physiotherapist is a trained healthcare professional who has studied extensively in their field. A multidisciplinary pursuit in many ways, physiotherapy is based on the study of medical science subjects including physiology, neuroscience and anatomy. All of these components are necessary to develop the skills and knowledge required for physical health education, injury prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of patients with physical disorders or disabilities.

Physiotherapists work in a number of different environments, including hospitals, general practice surgeries, private practices, workplace, and community centres. There are different types and specializations, but one thing that all physiotherapists have in common is a commitment to improving people’s daily lives through better physical function.

2. When is physiotherapy used?

As noted above, physiotherapy can be used to treat all sorts of different issues and problems. Most commonly, physiotherapy is used a means of treating problems that affect muscles, joints, the heart, blood circulation, and the lungs. In addition, the practice of physiotherapy also extends to helping people with mental health conditions, neurological conditions that also affect the brain and nervous system, and even chronic health issues.

3. What kind of treatment do physiotherapists prescribe?

Following an initial assessment in which the physiotherapist evaluates the needs of each unique client, they will begin to devise a customized plan which will take into account general health, activities, and lifestyle. The most common forms of treatment that you could expect to see at a physiotherapist’s office would include exercise programs specifically designed to target and strengthen certain muscle groups for improved mobility, muscle re-education in order to improve control and prevent further or reoccurring injury, and soft tissue massage and mobilisation.

In some cases, physiotherapists will also recommend mobility aids such as crutches and walking sticks. They can also perform hydrotherapy, acupuncture, and electrotherapy, which might include ultrasound, diathermy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and laser therapy.

4. Who can physiotherapy help?

Due to the vast range of services and treatment methods that they offer, physiotherapy can help people of all ages and physical health backgrounds. Specifically, physiotherapy can go a long way to helping restore health to people who have suffered a stroke, have heart problems that result in difficulty breathing, are recovering from a sports injury, or have recently had surgery that affects their movement or mobility. In addition, basically all people, young or old, who are dealing with any kind of physical disability stand to benefit from physiotherapy.

5. Seeing a physiotherapist

Due to the fact that physiotherapists are first contact health practitioners, a patient does not require a referral from a GP in order to schedule a visit. Although some therapists may work as part of a team alongside other healthcare professionals, in order to see a physiotherapist for initial consultation, a potential client just has to call and make an appointment.

If you’ve decided that you might benefit from the services of a physiotherapist, you should do some research to see who is available in your area and what their field of expertise is. You should also spend some time documenting your health and physical history so that you are able to provide your potential therapist with as much information as possible at your initial meeting.

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