What you need to know about physiotherapy
Physiotherapy, also known as physical therapy, is a healthcare discipline that aims to promote, maintain, or restore health and mobility in people with conditions, injuries, or disabilities that affect normal bodily movement. Physiotherapists are the practitioners of this discipline, and are trained and qualified professionals who are able to deploy a range of tools and techniques to reach a positive outcome.
Physiotherapy can be useful for people with a wide range of health conditions, including sports injuries, movement problems resulting from a stroke, circulation difficulties after a heart attack, and conditions that affect breathing, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Theoretically, anyone who is recovering from or currently has a medical condition that affects their movement or circulation can benefit from physiotherapy.
Physiotherapists use a variety of different techniques to help promote benefits in their patients. Manual therapy, where a physiotherapist uses their hands to encourage movement and relieve stiffness, is a common technique and is often complemented with education and advice on posture, home exercise regimens, and how to be safe while carrying or lifting things. Some physiotherapists will also use more niche treatments, like hydrotherapy or acupuncture, as part of their programme.
They will often work as part of multi-disciplinary teams alongside other professionals like occupational therapists, care workers, and mental health therapists. As part of teams such as these, physiotherapists can help to deliver more holistic health benefits.
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