What is physiotherapy, and how can it help?

Physiotherapy assists individuals who have lost movement and function due to an illness, injury, or disability. Additionally, it might help reduce your risk of disease or other harm in the future. It uses a holistic methodology and actively involves the patient in their own care.

Physical therapy is a crucial part of the treatment plan for most arthritis sufferers. You receive support from a team of medical professionals, including physiotherapists, to resume or maintain an independent, active life at home and work. They are experts in movement analysis and can also advise you on how to take care of your joints.

Your physiotherapist will: 

  • Provide you suggestions and assurances
  • Instil confidence in your ability to manage your condition.
  • Establish appropriate goals to keep you as active as possible
  • Address any worries or uncertainties.

Your doctor may recommend a specialist physiotherapist rather than an orthopaedic surgeon or rheumatologist. Mainly because they are trained in diagnosing and treating joint and muscle disorders.

How can physiotherapy help me?

When you have arthritis, you should make an effort to stay active. Many patients are concerned that physical activity will worsen their discomfort or harm their joints. However, joints are made to move, and muscle wasting results from idleness.

A physiotherapist will question you about your current activity level and any specific issues you face. They will also evaluate your joints to determine the strength of your muscles and the range of motion you have. This analysis will enable them to create a treatment plan, workout routine, and activity schedule specific to your requirements.

The programme may include the following:

  • Helping to avoid exercise-related injuries by advising on training and equipment you may need if you’re beginning a new activity.
  • General guidance on raising your activity level
  • Creating objectives and finding the correct balance between rest and activity
  • Suggest a course of aquatic therapy (also known as hydrotherapy), which consists of exercises in warm water 
  • Advise on techniques and treatments to manage pain, including using heat or ice packs, massage, and acupuncture, and providing walking aids or splints to help you maintain your mobility and independence.

What are Graded exercise programmes?

Following a graded exercise regimen can progressively increase your strength, stamina, mobility, and activity levels. Your physiotherapist will demonstrate how to slowly build up your activities without exerting yourself or worsening your pain.

Your physiotherapist will likely recommend a combination of the following:

  • Exercises for general fitness, which are crucial for your overall health
  • Proprioceptive exercises which enhance balance, coordination, and agility
  • Specialised stretching exercises to ease pains and get the most movement from your joints.
  • Exercises for strengthening the muscles that support your joints.
  • Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on any local walking or sports clubs as well as any yoga, Pilates, or t’ai chi sessions they might offer.
  • You can conduct exercises in warm water using an aquatic treatment, also known as a hydrotherapy pool, that specific physiotherapists have access to. Many people feel that moving in water is easier because the warmth is comforting, and the water supports your weight so you may move without putting undue stress on your joints and muscles.
  • Pain relief treatments

What about pain relief?

While drugs will help, a physiotherapist can discuss additional pain-relieving techniques that you can use in addition to your prescription. Some of these therapies can be continued by you in between appointments, such as:

  • Ice packs for sore, swollen joints
  • Heating pads to ease stiff, tired muscles
  • Splints for aching or inflamed joints
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, modifies how your brain receives pain signals. A TENS machine is a little electrical device that uses pads on your skin to deliver pulses to your nerve endings. Many people find the tingling sensation this provides to be calming.

Some physiotherapists may have extra training in alternative pain management methods. These may include massage or manipulation to ease muscular tension and pain and aid in improving joint range of motion.

Acupuncture is believed to work by interrupting the pain signals to the brain, thereby causing the release of natural painkillers called endorphins.

What is sports physiotherapy?

Sports physiotherapy is a physical therapy that treats professional and recreational athletes who have been injured or have recurrent problems. Sports physiotherapy is a sort of specialised physical therapy that is used to treat diseases or injuries that occur while engaging in sports. Among the strategies are hands-on therapy and rehabilitation. Sports physiotherapy may be an effective treatment option for you, whether you are a professional player or just starting your sports career.

Sports activities, whether professional or amateur, can result in serious injuries or severe muscular strain. These problems could worsen if proper medical attention and treatment are not provided. However, thanks to sports physiotherapy, these dreadful injuries can now be treated and avoided in the future. Using various strategies and exercises, you may enhance your performance and prevent future problems. Sports physiotherapy is designed to help you return to your regular activities as soon, safely, and successfully as possible. Sports physiotherapy treats ailments ranging from musculoskeletal illnesses to nerve, ligament, and muscular injuries.

How can I access physiotherapy services?

There are various ways to schedule a visit with a physiotherapist:

Your doctor or consultant may recommend you to the physiotherapy department of a hospital or neighbourhood clinic.

It’s possible that you can self-refer to a physiotherapist. Ask your doctor whether there is a self-referral NHS physiotherapy programme in your neighbourhood.

There are now some telephone evaluation and consultation services offered by physiotherapy departments. You might be able to get all or some of the help you require over the phone, depending on your condition.

You can self-refer to private physiotherapy practice if you would rather go that route. Always verify with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy the registration of your physiotherapist.


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