By Dr. Gaurav Tyagi, Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy or physical therapy as it is also known, addresses injuries, mobility issues, illnesses and disabilities through physical healing methods. For people recovering from accidents and other traumatic events that have affected their body, physiotherapy is a must.
Neck and back pain, sports injuries, accident related injuries, arthritis, neurological disorders, strokes etc are some of the common medical problems that can be treated with physiotherapy. It is often used to manage partial or even complete paralysis. Physiotherapy can also be sued to treat and manage breathing and other problems associated with the lungs and circulation or blood flow problems.
Physiotherapists employ many different methods to heal the body. The aim here is to improve the person’s quality of life by helping them achieve fuller control over their muscles and joints.
Some of these methods are:
- Hands-on: A massage and other types of manual therapy that stretches and energises muscles are one of the key elements of physiotherapy. These massages help speed up the recovery process by improving blood supply to the injury site.
- Hot and cold therapy: Heat packs are often applied on the site of the injury as a part of physiotherapy to deal with chronic or persistent pain. Heat therapy helps relax muscles and decreases muscle spasms by supplying oxygen to the affected muscles, ligaments and tendons and increasing blood flow. On the other hand, fresh bumps and injuries can be treated with ice packs or cold therapy. Cold therapy slows down circulation and reduced blood flow to the area thereby reducing inflammation and decreasing muscle spasms.
- Exercise: Exercises for physiotherapy patients must be tailored to their needs and limitations and must take into account their current fitness level. While some of the exercises need to be practised only under a physiotherapist’s guidance, others can be practised at home. The goal of exercises is to exercise joints and muscles and increase flexibility.
- Prescription drugs: In some cases, medications may also be prescribed as part of your physiotherapy. This is used most often for muscle strains. Certain medication can also help the muscles relax and hence ease the pain.
- Ultrasound: The use of ultrasounds in physiotherapy involves the use of high-pitched sound waves to loosen muscles deep under the skin. This also helps warm the tissues and aids in the healing process.
- Electrical stimulations: When dealing with injuries related to traumas, electrical stimulation may be used. This helps stimulate nerves.