The physiotherapist conducts treatment using non-pharmacological and non-surgical methods. The main goal of his work is to improve the psychophysical condition of the patient, to fight pain and mobility limitations. A physiotherapist treats or supervises the treatment of patients with neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and respiratory disorders.
Physiotherapy specialists are employed by public and private health care institutions, sports centers, fitness clubs, beauty salons, nursing homes, hospices, sheltered workshops, occupational therapy workshops, educational institutions, and universities. Often, physical therapists run a business. Then they work in their own offices or provide services in patients’ homes.
Physiotherapists specialize in specific directions. Due to the area of their activity, they are assigned to different departments:
- orthopedics and traumatology,
- pediatric neurology and neurology,
People with pain in the hip and knee joints, pain in individual sections of the spine, post-traumatic ankle conditions, or problems with the joints of the shoulder girdle and hand most often report to a physiotherapist.
Another group of people who benefit from physiotherapy is patients after stroke, with paresis of the limbs or trunk.
Physiotherapists also work with people after limb amputation, focusing their activities on the patient’s adaptation to functioning with the prosthesis.
Patients of cardiology, cardio surgery, pulmonology, geriatrics, and oncology also require the assistance of a specialist in this field. Activities carried out as part of physiotherapy are to restore full psychophysical fitness or increase exercise capacity.
Athletes are a special group of people using the help of physiotherapists. Practicing professional sports is associated with experiencing specific injuries, which is why this type of patient is dealt with by specialists in the field of sports physiotherapy.
The last group worth mentioning is the elderly. The aim of the physiotherapist’s activity here is most often delaying the effects of aging, improving and maintaining motor skills, overall maintaining the body in good condition, and maintaining the patient’s ability to function independently.
The important role of the physiotherapist
The physiotherapist works to reduce pain and restore the efficiency of the motor organs. However, this is not the only task faced by a specialist in this field. The effect of the therapist’s work is to restore the patient’s mental state.
Physiotherapy plays an extremely important role in cases of people after limb amputation when the lost organ requires the use of a prosthesis. Learning to function with a prosthesis requires the support of physiotherapists and psychotherapists.
An interesting aspect of a physiotherapist’s work is occupational therapies aimed at professional retraining of people with motor organ injuries, including people with prostheses. The aim of the therapy is not only professional activation, but also adaptation to life.
Treatment methods used in physiotherapy
Techniques that are used in physiotherapy are:
- kinesitherapy, i.e. treatment through gymnastics,
- physical therapy, treatment by influencing the body with various physical stimuli (electrotherapy, magnetotherapy, aerosol therapy, laser therapy, hydrotherapy, and many others)
- manual therapy (examination and treatment of peripheral joints and the spine),
- medical massage,
- balneotherapy (brine baths, carbonic acid baths, hydrogen sulfide baths, peloid baths)
- (spa treatment with the use of local climate factors)
Working with the patient
The first contact with the patient is related to the interview, manual examination, and diagnosis.
A person who comes to a physiotherapist most often has a referral from a doctor and up-to-date test results, such as X-ray pictures, tomography, and resonance imaging results and their descriptions, the result of ultrasound examination of the musculoskeletal system. An extensive interview on previous diseases and rehabilitation conducted so far is the basis for selecting the method of research.
The tests most often consist of moving the limbs or attempting to perform specific exercises by the patient. Each of the physiotherapists has their own research methods on the basis of which they make a diagnosis.
During the first visit, the goal and treatment plan is established.
The following sessions consist of conducting exercises with the patient. The physiotherapist assesses the correctness of the movements performed and corrects mistakes.
Exercises may be conducted with the use of sports equipment and lifts. If there are contraindications to kinesiotherapy, passive exercises can be used. Such therapy may involve exposing the patient’s body to an electric current, magnetic field, or lasers. Massage is a frequently used physiotherapeutic technique. Particular forms of therapy include various types of baths, low or high-temperature treatment (thermotherapy or cryotherapy), and spa treatment.
Another article on this blog that may interests you: