The role of the physiotherapist in general medicine is crucial when it comes to pain management and the promotion of overall health. As National Physiotherapy Month approaches, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the ins and outs of this field of medicine, and how it can help you if you are experiencing persistent physical pain.
May 1st marks the start of this special holiday, and there are a variety of ways that you can celebrate by making yourself aware of your healthcare options when it comes to soft tissue repair, exercise to help maintain strength and balance, improving physical activity overall, and helping athletes or other individuals who may have suffered head injuries to understand when they are able to get back into the swing of things. There are a variety of services a trained physiotherapist can provide to individuals in all sorts of conditions and at any age.
What Does a Physiotherapist Do?
A physiotherapist, also known globally as a physical therapist, practices in the field of health care that focuses on overall human movement and function, and how both can be optimized for an individual to live their best and healthiest life. These health care professionals focus on physical-based approaches that can treat and prevent damage and other afflictions that can prohibit or severely limit movement.
The practice of physical therapy techniques to improve quality of life has been in practice for thousands of years, possibly even going as far back as the fifth century BC. The science of healthy mobility seems almost too simple to be true, and yet it is a complex field that is full of questions, controversies, and ideas just like any other scientific or medical field. Physiotherapists work to optimize their craft in order to provide the best possible health care for patients looking to improve their quality of life.
Exercise for Mental Health
When it comes to maintaining optimal health, physical exercises are good for both physical health in general, as well as one’s mental health. A scientific article published in December 2017 goes into detail regarding how physical exercise is an essential component of maintaining a healthy mental state and possibly even going so far as to help prevent cognitive dysfunctions later in life.
A trained physiotherapist can help you to determine whether or not your level of exercise is sufficient to benefit your life as a whole, and may recommend new exercises or exercise methods that can help you improve your health.
Integrated Hospital Care
In a hospital setting, a focused physiotherapist can help provide additional persistent pain treatment on an acute level. Meaning, the role of the physiotherapist in a hospital setting is integral in that hospital’s ability to provide the best, most well-rounded care possible. The field of physical therapy requires specialized training that a general medical professional likely does not have, let alone have the time to provide in a busy hospital setting. Integrating physiotherapists into a hospital’s care network allows for specialized treatments and quality care on many levels.
The Importance of “Doing”
As with any pursuit, physical, mental, or otherwise, adherence to the system of that pursuit is crucial to see any form of benefit. For physical therapy, studies have shown that adherence to clinic-based physiotherapy actually improved soft tissue injury rehabilitation, and thus improved the overall health of participants.
While “movement” and physical exercise can be done at home, when it comes to learning the right way to move, (especially in the case of injured individuals), reaching out to a local physical therapy clinic is usually the best call. A trained physiotherapist can help you figure out how to optimize your physical health routine, and in the case of injury, properly treat the wounded tissue to prevent further injury. No matter what, doing something is the most important step to achieve a higher quality of life.
Effective Exercise for Optimal Movement and Joint Health
There are a variety of different exercise motions that you can do to maintain your body’s movement and overall joint health. These activities range from active exercise, where you are working to complete an action, to passive exercise, where a physiotherapist initiates the action in your body.
Some of the different forms of exercise that you may encounter in a physical therapy treatment session include:
- Resistance training: Or strength training, which focuses on stimulating muscle cells and increasing your mobility. Resistance training can take place on a weight machine, by using free weights, or through calisthenics.
- Joint mobilization: A passive exercise where the physiotherapist will manually manipulate the joints to increase mobility and/or circulation.
- Suspension therapy: By using a device that hangs from the ceiling, the body is forced to use its own weight and gravity to promote exercise and joint health.
- Relaxation therapy: This can include any form of therapy that promotes quiet and relaxation as methods to heal the body and reduce stress.
- Posture correction: Different stretching and weight training can help improve your overall posture which can, in turn, improve mobility and decrease back pain.
- Gait training: For individuals who have suffered an injury that has left them disabled, gait training can help them rebuild the muscles in the legs and improve mobility through repetitive motion exercise that helps retrain the body in how to walk.
- Hydrotherapy: Or water aerobics and strength training.
- Massage therapy: For deep-tissue injuries and to improve overall function and circulation.
- Balance training: With age or injury, your balance can begin to deteriorate, which can cause a host of health problems. Retraining the body’s balance can help reduce vertigo and the propensity for falling or fainting episodes.
- Stretching: Whether through yoga or other forms of muscle stretching, this form of therapy can help loosen muscles and joints, and keep the body’s movement fluid and healthy.