Accidents can happen anywhere, be it on the road, at the gym, or even in the comforts of your own home. Even if you use the best fitness gear money can buy, there is no way you can remove the possibility of untoward incidents from happening.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just shrug off your safety and be reckless. Instead, you need to ensure that you’re physically fit and ready to take on whatever it is you’re planning to do.
This is where physiotherapy can help. Although well-known for its role in rehabilitating injuries or chronic pains, Brisbane physiotherapists can also help prevent accidents from happening.
Want to learn more? Read on to understand the basics of physiotherapy and the five benefits you can get from undergoing this treatment.
What is Physiotherapy?
People often use the terms ‘physiotherapy’ and ‘physical therapy’ interchangeably because there really isn’t any difference between the two terms.
Both describe the treatment used to help optimise a person’s quality of life. It plays a critical role in rehabilitating, treating, and preventing injuries and other medical conditions.
With a customised physical therapy program, individuals can regain their level of functioning that may have deteriorated because of an accident, disease, or a sedentary lifestyle. This treatment also encourages activities and changes in day-to-day activities to prevent further injury and promote better overall wellness.
Top 5 Benefits of Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy treatment can do a lot more for your health than you probably know. If you choose to undergo this procedure, you can:
1. Enhance your mobility
Regardless of your age, physical therapy can help if you’re experiencing difficulty or trouble walking, standing, or moving.
Take note that older adults aren’t the only ones who can experience these as a sedentary or inactive lifestyle can also compromise muscle strength and joint mobility even in younger age groups.
Physiotherapy makes use of strengthening and stretching exercises to restore or even enhance your ability to move. Here are some examples of mobility exercises:
- Cat camel exercise – This exercise aims to stretch the connective tissue from the spine near the nerve branches. Starting on all fours, arch your back up, like an angry cat. Increase the arch as you take deep breaths: inhale while arching further and tighten your abs as you exhale. Then, drop your chest and lift your head until you can look ahead slightly. Repeat this nine more times.
- Back rotor stretch – While lying on your back, begin stretching your arms up. Point your knees upwards as your legs are folded, then slowly lower them towards the left until you feel the stretch up to your spine. Reach your arms to the left as you begin moving your legs to the right. Do this three times for every side, with the stretch felt through your shoulder blades and back.
Take note that physical therapists don’t just guide you through exercises; they can also fit you with crutches, cane, and other assistive devices or recommend assessments for an orthotic prescription. With this, you can perform whatever activity is essential to your life optimally while ensuring your safety.
2. Deal with pain proactively
Pain management sometimes entails the use of doctor-prescribed opioids. However, these drugs don’t actually do anything for your recovery. They only mask pain, not to mention they pose many risks, including substance abuse, depression, overdose, and withdrawal symptoms.
With physical therapy, you’ll be able to manage pain without these risks. This is why the Centres for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) considers it as a safer option.
When you undergo physiotherapy for pain management, you may be asked to participate in various active therapeutic exercises, including low-impact aerobic conditioning.
Therapists can also perform passive physical therapy on you. This includes electrical stimulation, ultrasound, dry needling, cupping, hot or cold packs, and manual therapy techniques (e.g., soft tissue and joint mobilisation). All these promote pain relief while working to restore your original joint and muscle function. These may also prevent pain from reoccurring.
3. Help you avoid or prepare for a surgery
Some mobility and pain issues end up becoming chronic, and may later require surgery. Because it aids in pain management and mobility enhancement, there is a good chance that physical therapy can also help you avoid the need to go under the knife.
Physiotherapy can ease symptoms of chronic diseases and conditions and keep them from getting worse. In fact, research confirms that this treatment is as effective as a surgical procedure for certain conditions, like:
- Meniscal tears
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Spinal stenosis
- Rotator cuff tears
- Degenerative disk disease
Even if surgery is unavoidable, physiotherapy can still help. Recovery from surgery is believed to be faster when you’re in better shape, thanks to physical therapy.
4. Prevent accidents
Before you get physiology treatments, you will be screened to determine your risk level for falls. In case you are found to be at a greater risk of falling, your therapist will carefully select exercises that will gradually challenge your balance while mimicking real-life situations (which is totally safe, of course).
From there, your physiotherapy will focus on exercises that will develop your coordination. You will also be assessed for assistive devices, so you can walk safely as you recover your lost mobility.
In cases where a balance issue is caused by the vestibular system, the physical therapist may perform manoeuvres that restore vestibular function quickly and reduce – if not eliminate – vertigo or dizziness symptoms.
5. Improve your coordination
Aside from balance, physiotherapy can also help correct your coordination. This encompasses your ability to execute accurate, smooth, and controlled motor responses. In other words, it describes how smoothly the different parts of your body interact and react.
Optimal coordination entails being able to use the right muscle at just the right moment with sufficient intensity to achieve the desired action. In other words, a well-coordinated movement has the following characteristics:
- Appropriate speed
- Correct distance
- Accurate direction
- Precise timing
- Sufficient muscular tension
Before the therapy session, the physiotherapist will conduct tests to determine your motor strength, balance, and coordination. This can be as simple as walking on a straight line or on a balance beam.
In most cases, you’ll be asked to perform meaningful movements repeatedly, which involves using more than one muscle and joint. Some examples include touching a part of your body or picking up something.
Some medical conditions benefit more from coordination exercises, such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Parkinson’s disease
Physiotherapy or physical therapy – whatever you may call it – is a treatment with a wide range of benefits. To get the best results, stick to certified therapists to ensure the safe and proper application of the treatment.