Be it spinal injuries or neurological disorders, sports injuries or cerebral palsy, musculoskeletal problems or paralysis, physiotherapy, since the days of its inception, has done wonders. With a vast plethora of techniques, the science of physiotherapy has proved to be a miraculous discovery in the world of medicine. Techniques like muscle stretching, joint movement and manipulation and so on have been overtly effective in dealing with all sorts of people. Through this article, I would make an attempt to talk about the benefits of physiotherapy.
The first question that needs to be answered is: Is physiotherapy scientific?
Science asks and answers questions by making observations and performing experiments. It searches for cause and effect relationships in nature. As a science-based practice, physiotherapy uses facts, theories and hypotheses and tests them against available data.
Physiotherapy aims at promoting, restoring and maintaining physical health. The treatments prescribed by it are formulated after extensive research and observations before being implemented, and the profession is subjected to strict regulation by various governing bodies. Physiotherapists have come to rely more and more on evidence-based practice to ensure that outcomes are consistent throughout the profession and are not just the domain of a select few. Having undergone years of rigorous training before they can become licensed to practice, their reliability cannot be questioned.
Sports, as a field, heavily depend on physiotherapy in modern times. So popular it is that a separate field, called ‘sports physiotherapy’ has been introduced. It is the specialized branch of physiotherapy which deals with injuries and issues related to sports people. Sports injuries do differ to everyday injuries because athletes normally require high level performance and demand placed upon their body, which stresses their muscles, joints and bones to an overwhelming limit. Sports physiotherapists help athletes recover from these sporting injuries, and provide education and resources to prevent problems related to them.
People with neurological disorders such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury can benefit greatly with physiotherapy treatment. Interventions focus on muscle re-education and control, rehabilitation of fine and gross motor skills, improving daily function, regaining strength and flexibility, learning how to perform ‘safe transfers’, restoring and improving posture and re-training in the use of ‘mobility aids’.
For children suffering from cerebral palsy, physiotherapy is essential in helping to reduce spasticity and deformity, improving postural control, teaching children how to use ‘assistive devices’ and doing all that is necessary to maximize the child’s ‘functional independence’. Physiotherapists also try to educate the family so they can help continue what the child has learned during therapy sessions.
Cardiopulmonary conditions respond well to physiotherapy intervention. People who have difficulty performing their activities of daily living, or who have shortness of breath and decreased endurance, can achieve markedly improved quality of life through guided exercise and resistance training. Intervention also includes manual therapy and exercise to help clear secretions in the lungs, counseling about risk factors, patient education to prevent future recurrence and behaviour modification. For those people who have had cardiopulmonary surgery, physiotherapy is initiated early to prevent the patient from losing strength and function.
With such wide utility and importance, physiotherapy continues to remain popular. And provided that we know how useful it can be altogether, there is no harm in visiting a clinic if we are in need.
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