Physiotherapists, or PTs as they are also known as, are health care professionals that work with people to remediate physical injuries and pain or to prevent physical disease through the means of physical exercises and treatments. PTs can assist patients with most physical impairments that limit the usual functionality of the body and offer therapeutic treatments to patients who can be anyone from newborns to the elderly.
Physiotherapy has a major place of practice in many physical settings. You’ll find a PT that specialises in treating injuries specific to most types of sports. They are trained to evaluate and diagnose physical illnesses that are the result of injuries and subscribe the patient to a physical treatment that is designed in partnership with the patient. A Physiotherapist will work closely with the patient to monitor the effects of the physical treatment and will build a historical profile of the patient which is kept and referred to in future in case of a recurring injuring.
Physiotherapists also work in the following health care areas:
- Wound care (treatment of patients with severe wounds)
- Electromyography (treatment of neuromuscular diseases, lower back pain, kinesiology, and motor control disorders)
- Circulatory System (the circulation of blood and lymph to transport nutrients)
- Neurology (treatment of disorders related to the nervous system)
- Pediatrics (treatment of disorders for infants and children)
- Orthopedics (treatment of disorders related to the musculoskeletal system)
- Geriatrics (treatment of disorders concerned with elderly people)
Treatment of your condition will involve an assessment of not just your current physical condition but will also cover your lifestyle habits, general daily activities and state of health. The physiotherapist’s most common types of treatment are:
- Exercise regimes aimed to develop mobility and strengthen muscles
- Joint exercises to reduce soreness and stiffness
- Muscle training and manipulation to improve body control
- Breathing exercises and techniques to develop clearer airways.
- Hydrotherapy (the use of water to relieve a patient of pain or an illness)
- Guidance on how to use aids such as crutches, wheelchairs and walking sticks.
PTs work within all areas of general healthcare alongside other health care professionals such as an Osteopath or a Chiropractor. They practice in hospitals, rehab and community health centres, sports clubs and commonly within their own private practice. Searching your local phone directory should find you a nearby practicing physiotherapist or you can contact your family doctor who can refer you to a PT, however PTs do not usually require a doctor’s referral before contacting them.