Physiotherapy is a naturopathic method of medicine that focuses on the movement of the body. It treats existing problems like chronic pain, it helps people rehabilitate after an injury or surgery, and it can be a preventative measure used to help people avoid injury or pain.
Physiotherapy targets the root of a problem. Instead of treating symptoms of pain, it treats the pain from the source. Physiotherapy provides a very individual type of treatment. The physiotherapist will create a therapy schedule bespoke to the needs of the patient.
Anybody can go to a physiotherapist at any time without a referral, as physiotherapists are considered primary healthcare providers. In Canada, a physiotherapist must undergo at least 6 years of post-secondary education in order to become certified. In order to practice physiotherapy legally, the physiotherapist must be certified by a recognized institution.
After the initial certification, physiotherapists can continue their education in order to specialize in a specific area such as sports therapy, orthopaedics, hand rehabilitation, geriatric or chronic pain therapy, and many more.
The first step of a physiotherapist’s job is to assess the situation being presented to them. Is the patient in need of preventative therapy or rehabilitation? Using range of motion exercises, from which the physiotherapist can gain visual clues about what may be causing problems in a person’s body, the physiotherapist will begin to assess the patient.
In addition to the visual range of motion exercises, they will likely ask a lot of questions about the person’s situation which may also help them glean further information. They may also test the patient’s strength, gait, and may examine more closely any areas the patient claims are causing them pain.
After the assessment is complete, the physiotherapist will discuss with the patient what they were able to understand based on their assessment. The best way for the patient to heal is if they too understand the root of the problem, and help themselves as much as possible. The physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan.
This will normally involve stretching and moving exercises that specifically target the part of the patient’s body that requires healing. As the physiotherapist describes the treatment plan, they should also present the benefits, alternatives, and any possible risks or side effects that could occur as a result.
There are two separate reasons why a physiotherapist may be providing preventative therapy. One is to assess a person physically in order to help them prevent problems later in life. This assessment would be much like a regular assessment where the physiotherapist would use visual clues based on range of motion exercises to analyze where potential risk lays. The other type of assessment is to analyze a person’s daily life and verbally provide them with preventative measures they can make within their home to avoid injuring themselves.
This method is often provided for elderly people. What happens is that older people tend to shy away from regular activity for fear of injuring themselves, which ultimately causes the weakening of some of their muscles and joints, causing them to become injured more easily.
Not only will physiotherapists work with their patients for a certain amount of time, but they will almost always send patients home with homework, of a sort. The homework is usually a set of exercises and movements which target the areas of the patient’s body in need of attention. Doing these exercises as per the recommendation of the physiotherapist can greatly accelerate the rehabilitation of a person’s body. Alternatively, not doing the exercises can not only set a patient back in their progress, it can actually cause further injury.