What Do Physiotherapists Do?
Physiotherapy is the use of touch and equipment to help people overcome movement problems. Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals trained to help people move when they are unwell or in recovery from Stroke, Parkinson’s, spinal pain, sporting injuries, respiratory conditions and more.
A physiotherapist will first assess the person and then determine what kind of movements and exercises can help recovery and can be done by the person safely, based on their condition.
Physiotherapy can take place in a hospital, clinic or at home. Home physiotherapy offers the most convenience and common household items like water bottles, a stick, or chair can be used by physiotherapists to help the person to exercise.
You can read more about the benefits of home physiotherapy here.
Who Needs Physiotherapy?
- Has any sort of injury
- Had a stroke
- Have osteoarthritis knees
- Have undergone surgery
- Is recovering from illness
How Does Physiotherapy Help Recovery? Aren’t You Supposed To Rest?
The human body is made to move. When we move, our muscles work, our joints bend, our hearts beat faster and harder and our breathing becomes heavier. All these help in maintaining and improving muscle strength, joint mobility, blood circulation, healing and our respiratory health.
When we are not well, it’s important to rest and let the body heal. However, resting too much after the body has recovered can harm rather than help. It can lead to weaker muscles, stiff joints, sluggish blood circulation and poor breathing.
This slows down healing and creates new problems like:
- Muscle contractures, which means that your muscles shorten and tighten and you will have poorer flexibility and ability to move
- Joint stiffness, which affects your range of motion
- Blood clots in the legs, which can cause breathing problems, heart problems, stroke and even death
For the elderly especially, their heart can weaken and they may have difficulty getting up and moving. This becomes a vicious cycle.
Physiotherapists can help you to move and exercise safely and within your abilities, to make sure all these do not happen.
How Often Should I Get Physiotherapy?
During the initial recovery phase, physiotherapy should happen at least 3-4 times a week or more.
Why so frequent? Regular movement encourages blood circulation which then speed ups recovery. It also conditions the muscles faster and makes joints more supple. This is why professional football players get physiotherapy twice daily to recover from injuries!
When you are better and can exercise on your own, you can reduce the frequency of physiotherapy. You should still have sessions so your physiotherapist can review your progress. If needed, they can help you to move to a higher level of independence.