If you’re like many people in Australia, you might not know the important role that physiotherapy plays in any wellness program—or how you can benefit from it. There’s a rife misconception that physiotherapists only treat sports injuries and musculoskeletal problems; when, in fact, physiotherapy is an effective treatment for many different acute and chronic conditions. It’s a valuable resource for many people in reducing the impact of injury, illness, and aging.
If you’re looking for natural ways to improve your health, the solution might lie in physiotherapy.
With new techniques emerging all the time from evidence-based research, physiotherapy could be instrumental in eliminating your pain, improving your mobility, and reducing the impact of chronic conditions—in other words, improving your general wellbeing.
What physiotherapists can do
Physiotherapy is an important component of any multidisciplinary health care program. You’ll find physios alongside other health practitioners in acute health care settings like hospitals and rehabilitation facilities, community and government facilities like schools and health centres, and in private practices like sports clubs and fitness centres.
Physiotherapy can be helpful in assisting in many different health conditions and settings, including:
- Surgical settings: to reduce recovery time and boost healing after many types of surgery (including orthopaedic, gastroenterological, and urological);
- Cardiothoracic disorders: like asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other cardiorespiratory disorders;
- Neurological disorders: like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain and spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and strokes;
- Musculoskeletal injuries and conditions: like back and neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, arthritis, bursitis, posture problems, disc bulges, sciatica, ligament and tendon injuries, and reduced mobility;
- Rehabilitation: such as helping elderly people improve balance, coordination and mobility, and in post-surgical rehabilitation after injury repairs and joint replacements; and
- Pregnancy: including treating back and neck pain, abdominal muscle changes, breast issues, prolapse and incontinence, and in treating respiratory and muscle weakness in premature babies.
Many people associate physiotherapy with treatment and rehabilitation for acute injuries. But while it is used a lot in these settings, it’s also invaluable in helping people to improve their general health. Physiotherapy helps wellness by keeping people mobile, reducing their pain with rehabilitation instead of medication, and using a range of techniques to keep all the body systems functioning optimally.
Types of therapies physiotherapists use
Physiotherapists are one of the most holistic health care providers available. A well-trained physio can be instrumental in identifying physical problems, but they’re invaluable in the treatment plans they can develop and implement to improve your health without drugs or surgery.
Physiotherapists are also a valuable source of education. They can teach elderly people how to use assistive equipment (like walking frames and wheelchairs), and improve their balance, to stay independent for longer. They can give advice about positive lifestyle changes and fitness programs to people wanting to improve their health. They can provide corrective techniques to reduce the risk of injury from all sorts of activities from sports to bad posture. Whatever physical issues they’re tending to, they have a holistic approach to health that focuses on prevention and natural rehabilitation.
There are many ways a physiotherapist can treat different physical conditions. They include:
- Hands-on, manual therapies: including gentle joint and spinal manipulation and mobilisation, manual resistance training, balance training, massage and soft tissue techniques, physiotherapy instrument mobilisation (PIM), and neurodynamics for neural tension and pain;
- Taping: and strapping techniques to prevent injuries, and special kinesiology taping for pain relief, reducing swelling and lymphoedema, and dynamically support weak and injured muscles;
- Exercise programmes: such as muscle strengthening and stretching, posture retraining, cardiovascular stretching and training, and developing programs that incorporate essential components of yoga and Pilates for rehabilitation;
- Electrotherapy techniques: including TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), laser therapy, diathermy, and ultrasound. These techniques can assist in tissue and wound healing, pain relief, reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and reduce scarring; and
- Biomechanical analysis: involving observation and diagnostic skills to identify issues that can or have caused injury—like poor technique in sports, or poor posture—and developing a treatment plan to correct them.
There are many health problems that a physio can treat, and lots of ways they can do it. But perhaps the best thing about physiotherapy is that all of the treatments draw on the body’s normal function, and involve strengthening and improving your health and wellbeing without relying on medication or invasive treatments.
How physiotherapy can assist in wellness
Australian physiotherapists have garnered a lot of international recognition in recent years. They’ve developed innovative and effective techniques in diagnosis and treatment of many health conditions, and are widely respected for their ability to measurably improve quality of life—even for patients with permanent injuries or progressive diseases.
Physiotherapy techniques are a valuable tool in fostering wellness. They’re an important component in any holistic health program, because they can help to:
- Improve strength;
- Improve mobility and function;
- Reduce pain; and
- Eliminate reliance on medication and surgery.
Physiotherapists use many techniques that are similar to those used by other health professionals (like chiropractors and osteopaths), but they can also work with these professionals to develop holistic treatment programs for complex health issues. Wherever you are on the spectrum of health—whether it’s dealing with an injury you sustained from living an active life, or you’re looking for help to change a sedentary lifestyle—physiotherapy can help. There are many well established techniques and a slew of new innovations that you could benefit from with improved function and pain reduction, so it’s a great time to see a physio right now.
At Life Force Health Solutions, our highly skilled physios are available with a range of effective hands-on treatments when you need them. We pride ourselves on our holistic approach to health, so you can feel free to discuss the best adjuvant therapies for your condition (including remedial massage, dry needling, acupuncture, and Bowen therapy) with your physiotherapist.
Contact us anytime for more information or to make an appointment, and we’ll be happy to help you work towards a more mobile and pain-free future, so that you can get the best out of life!