According to WCPT ( world confederation of physical therapists ) , physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing the quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment, habilitation and rehabilitation.
Physical therapy also known as physiotherapy is the health profession concerned with assessment, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and disability through physical means.
It provides services to individuals to develop, maintain and restore the maximum movement.
Physiotherapy helps in reducing pain, restore mobility and flexibility, increase range of motion of joints, strengthen the muscles and maintain the correct posture of the body.
Physiotherapy done by physical therapist (physiotherapist) who is licensed health care professionals in the particular state or states.
They should have a bachelors and masters degree in physiotherapy.
Work of Physiotherapist:
The physiotherapist should be humble, understanding, caring towards the patients.
The physiotherapist should listen to the problem of the patients carefully.
He should evaluate the patient properly and then conclude to a diagnosis. After this, he should plan a treatment and start implementing on it.
Regular assessing of the patients is necessary and modification of the treatment is required.
History of Physiotherapy:
Physiotherapy was introduced in the United States during World War 1 to rehabilitate soldiers.
Hippocrates used to practice physical therapy in the form of massage, hydrotherapy and manual therapy in 460 BC. Modern physical therapy comes into existence in 19 century.
Types of Physiotherapy:
- Orthopaedic Physiotherapy:
It focuses on injuries related to bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles. It includes sports injuries. One of the emeritus professor of orthopaedics, all India institute of medical science says “ orthopaedic surgeon should never pick up a knife unless he has a competent physiotherapist”. The factors like highly sedentary mechanical lifestyle, and even increasing incidence of trauma due to modernization, industrialization and the increased number of automobiles are the challenges faced by orthopaedicians and physiotherapist. Orthopaedic physiotherapy falls into two major categories depending upon the severity-
- Short – Term Physiotherapy:
This includes patients with minor neuro – muscular-skeletal lesions. The lesions could be traumatic involving simple soft tissue injuries, simple fractures or could be non traumatic. Such patients need out patient physiotherapy for short duration to bet well.
- Long – Term Physiotherapy:
This category refers to more complicated diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, major hip fractures like hip, spine which may result in severe physical disability and complications like paraplegia and tetraplegia or may need surgical procedures. These patients need longer sessions of extensive physiotherapy and usually are non ambulatory.
- Neurological Physiotherapy:
There are various neurological condition which requires regular physiotherapy. Lesions of the nervous system – whether of the brain, spinal cord , or the peripheral nerves could be due to various reasons like trauma, certain infections, congenital defects, deficiency diseases like vitamin B -12 and neoplasm.
Problems like paralysis of muscle whether it is hemiplegia or tetraplegia. Others like ataxia, vertigo, rigidity due to parkinson’s, tremors and dystonia. Long term physiotherapy is required in all such conditions.
The aim of physiotherapy is to achieve independence.
When a functional activity is impossible to achieve then the physiotherapist will try to help the patient to compensate for the loss.
For example – a paraplegic patient who is unable to walk can be taught to use a wheelchair and possibly an adapted car in order to become mobile as possible.
- Geriatric Physiotherapy:
This involves physiotherapy for the rehabilitation of the old patients. Individuals of the age group after 65 years suffer from various orthopaedics or neurological problems. They need special care. At this age, the balance is affected which could cause the individual to fall and this may lead to fractures. Keeping in mind all the problems a physiotherapist teach the older age group various balancing exercises, muscle strengthening, functional independence, restoration of joint range of motion, respiratory exercises to clear the lungs and maintain the lung patency and cardiac rehabilitation. They need to be given proper supportive aid like walking aids, anti slippery floors, protective bars in the bathrooms and so on.
- Cardiopulmonary Physiotherapy:
Physiotherapy is necessary for the field of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation. Patients with respiratory problems like COPD including bronchial asthma, emphysematous lungs, post CABG ( heart transplant surgery) , pneumonia, post surgical cases like kidney transplant and much more needs physiotherapy to regain the cardiac strength and attain the functional independence.
- Pediatric Physiotherapy:
Many children with problems of delayed milestone, polio, cerebral palsy needs physiotherapy for the longer time. This helps children to reduce spasticity, help them to cope up with the milestones, make them independent and strengthen the muscles.
Importance of Physiotherapy:
At present physiotherapy has become an important field.
Physiotherapy has become an essential part in every branch of medical. It has various importance in our life.
- Pain Relief:
physiotherapy helps to relieve pain. Various orthopaedic conditions like frozen shoulder, arthritis, tendonitis, muscle tear, sprains and much more, physiotherapy helps relieving pain by using various modalities like ultrasound, TENS, IFT, wax bath and exercise therapy including manual therapy and mobilization.
- Post Fracture Stiffness:
Fracture at times cause restriction in the joint movement after the removal of plasters or surgery. Physiotherapy helps in improving range of motion of the joint, strengthen the week muscles and make it functional for daily activities.
- Avoid Surgery:
There are certain conditions where surgery is required instead is treated with physiotherapy. This helps to reduce the post surgery complications and is cost effective.
- Assist Surgery:
In various surgeries, it is mandatory to strengthen the muscles prior to surgery. This helps in the early recovery of the patients. Few such conditions are total knee replacement, spine surgery, hip replacements, capsular release in frozen shoulder, ligament repair surgery and many more.
- Stroke Rehabilitation:
Initial 3-4 months of physiotherapy can reverse the effect of stroke on limbs. With the help of proper exercises, patient can fully recover.
- Sports Injury:
Physiotherapist helps in sports injuries. Every game has trained sports therapist. On field, physiotherapy helps players to give their full on the game and help them recover from injury.
- Reducing Risk of Fall:
Physiotherapist teaches balancing exercises as well as helps strengthening the muscles. This improves the balance and prevents falls.
- Manage Diabetes:
Physiotherapist helps in controlling diabetes. Physical activity and diet control can control diabetes mellitus type 2. Physiotherapist helps in performing the best exercises, which can help in weight management, which in turn can help in diabetes.
- Manage Heart Disease:
Physiotherapist has a major role in post CABG cases. They help in clearing the lung secretions. They also help in mobilizing the patients. They train to strengthen the heart. They help in improving the ejection factor. They form complete cardiac rehabilitation program.
- Icu Care:
Physiotherapist has a major role for the patients on ventilators. Chest physiotherapy is required to clear the lung congestions for ventilator patients. Limb physiotherapy is essential for the patients who are immobilize in ICU. Physiotherapist helps in gait training. Physiotherapist helps in back care of the patients. They help in prevention of bedsores.
- Manage Lung Disease:
Physiotherapy can help in many conditions like bronchitis, pneumonitis, emphysema, bronchioectasis, and asthma and so on. Chest physiotherapy helps in removal of the lung secretions. It removes the sputum from the lungs and clear the chest congestion. Breathing exercises helps in maintaining the lung patency.
- Women Health:
Physiotherapy helps in antenatal and postnatal period. Physiotherapist carries out antenatal classes, which helps in maintaining the women health as well as child health. It also helps in easy delivery. Physiotherapist also helps during the labor pains. Physiotherapist helps in post natal terms. Post delivery causes many problems like back pain, neck pain, low back pain with radiculopathy. Physiotherapist guides the proper posture and helps in relieving the pain. Physiotherapist also assists during feeding. They guide the posture to be followed while feeding to avoid neck and back pains.
What Does a Physiotherapist Do?
Physiotherapist assesses the patient’s completely. They listen to the problem of the patient patiently.
They observe the patients first. They palpate the part. After this examination is done followed by the provisional diagnosis.
After this, they plan the treatment. They also make a home exercise regime to strengthen the muscles.
They teach the precautions to be followed so that the problem should not be flared up.
Physiotherapist gives counselling to the patients. Physiotherapist teaches the transfer activities to bed ridden patients like spinal cord injury patients.
They focus on muscle re education and control and rehabilitation of gross and fine motor skills in conditions like spinal cord injury cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, and stroke.
Benefits of Physiotherapy:
- Pain Relief:
Physiotherapy helps in reducing pain, swelling and inflammation.
- Strength Training:
Physiotherapy strengthen the muscles which help in controlling pain
- Posture Correction:
Correcting posture helps in relieving pain from neck and back.
- Increase Range of Motion of Joint:
Conditions like frozen shoulder or post fracture stiffness.
- Improve Cardio:
Respiratory function- breathing exercises, limb physiotherapy and chest physiotherapy helps improving cardio-respiratory function.
- Increase Coordination:
Physiotherapy helps in improving coordination in various conditions like Parkinson’s , multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and so on.
- Improve Balance to Reduce Risk of Fall
- Maintain Activity of Daily Living:
In cases like rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, and stroke. The physiotherapist helps in modifying the activities according to the condition.
- Life-Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients:
Improve the quality of life-rehabilitation of stroke patients helps in improving their quality of life. Early consultation of stroke patients with physiotherapist can give 100 percent recoveries in patients.
- Sports Injuries:
Physiotherapy helps in sports injuries- on the field as well as off the field. Conditions like knee ligament injury, meniscal injury, rotator cuff injury, ankle sprains and so on.
- Pre and Post Surgery:
Knee replacements, hip replacements, kidney transplant and other surgeries.
- Rehabilitation of the Cancer Patients:
Rehabilitation of the cancer patients like maintaining their muscle power, improving lung patency and motivating the patients.
- Ergonomic Classes:
Office workers should attend ergonomic classes to maintain the good posture. Every company should have a physiotherapist. They should organize regular ergonomic classes.