Physiotherapy, also called physical therapy, is actually one of the many health care professions known as the athletic health professions. A physical therapist (PT), like all therapists, specializes in treating and helping individuals suffering from disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the muscular system. Physical therapists provide physical therapy services to patients who have been injured or experience paralysis affecting the major organs of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidney, spine, and limbs. Physical therapists also provide medical services to athletes with injured legs or arms that require help to prevent further injury or disability.
Physical therapists perform a variety of therapeutic tasks. PT’s can diagnose and determine the cause and nature of a patient’s condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment method. The scope of physical therapy also includes using diagnostic imaging and performing interventions, such as applying edema bracelets, controlling limb movement, correcting muscle spasms, increasing strength, and increasing flexibility. Physical therapists can also use manipulative techniques to correct muscle imbalances. They can perform rehabilitative exercises for patients who have suffered traumatic injuries and can instruct patients on the proper movement of their limbs following surgery.
Many people think of physiotherapy as providing treatment for specific sports injuries, but this is not the case. A physiotherapist is capable of treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system in general and can even treat conditions of the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system. This profession includes not just physical therapy for sports injuries, but also working with patients who have neuromuscular problems such styles, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Many patients who have neuromuscular conditions also require physiotherapy to alleviate the symptoms associated with these conditions. Common conditions treated include chronic pain, inflammation, motor loss, balance and coordination problems, stiffness and range of motion.
Another field of specialization that physiotherapists can work in is sports medicine. This includes the examination, evaluation, and treatment of athletes who have suffered injuries that limit their ability to participate in sporting activities. Common sporting injuries physiotherapy helps injured athletes regain performance and function. Most sports medicine specialists are trained in both the diagnosis and treatment of athletes and other athletes suffering from various injuries.
Physiotherapists can use a variety of techniques for treating different types of injuries, including manual therapies and specific exercises for each particular injury. For example, manual therapy usually focuses on promoting range of motion, increasing strength, and improving circulation. Specific exercises for fractures, joint injuries, sports injuries, and motor skill injuries may focus on flexion, extension, rotation, and mobility.
Physiotherapists are typically employed by primary care health professionals and physicians specializing in the spine, muscles, joints, and bones of the body. As well, they can be referred to other health professionals when a patient has a more complex injury. However, anyone suffering from an injury should always consult with their physician before taking any type of action regarding their injury.