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What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy – Physio – is one of the health sciences relating to health care for people and covering aspects of prevention, protection, treatment, and rehabilitation – both physically and mentally. It follows scientific techniques using physiotherapy equipment, and procedures such as exercise therapy, mobilization techniques, electrotherapy equipment and therapeutic heat- cold (Cryotherapy). Physio is focused on improving people's health and efficiency of the body's working ability.

There are six main branches to Physiotherapy - being...

  1. 1. Physiotherapy in Orthopedics - Physiotherapy in Orthopedics helps patients with musculoskeletal problems such as
    stiffness, MPS (myofascial pain syndrome), bone fractures and also those with physical deformities, etc...
  2. 2. Physiotherapy in Neurology – is for patients who have problems with ADL (active daily living); amputation which cause neurologic problems; for patients with CP (cerebral palsy); Parkinson Disease: The symptoms are always visible as Hypotone or Hypertone of muscles.
  3. 3. Physiotherapy in Cardiovascular/Pulmonary – for example; patients with lung diseases having impaired airway clearance; pre or post-surgery-cardiac disease patients.
  4. 4. Physiotherapy in sports - Care or rehabilitation before and after sports competitions. A physiotherapist usually carries out or advises on warm up exercises before activities and cool-down after sport playing.
  5. 5. Physiotherapy in the Community - is proactive work to take care of all patients in their home or community who are aged; disabled; or those who are unable to receive treatment at a hospital or clinic center. Also a physiotherapist for community work gives advice about how people can look after themselves.
  6. 6. Physiotherapy for others – such as; exercise in pregnancy (pre or post-natal) and physiotherapy for diabetics.

What will physiotherapy do to help me?

  1. 1.   Manual therapy - using hands to adapt and improve structure of muscles, nerves and bones by manipulation to position appropriately improving their ability to function normally. This should not be confused with various forms of so-called therapeutic massage; persons who do this need to have specialized knowledge about anatomy. There are many techniques of manual therapies, including manipulation; muscular energy; clinical massage; mobilization etc...
  2. 2. Exercise - is one of physiotherapy techniques, studied extensively and developed to rehabilitate patients. The technique of exercise must be selected appropriately according to the patient’s condition. There are many types of exercises for each condition. Mostly exercise therapy is aimed to strengthening muscles or stretching joints. Then, it can help to improve the patient’s symptom. Simply exercising ad hoc is not a basic Physio technique.
  3. 3. Modalities - is being used as a physiotherapy technique to treat and stimulate some cells of human body with the ultimate aim of ease of movement and proper movement. Examples of modalities are ultrasound (US); Tenses and Mechanical Traction.

2 - Why do I need a professional?

Physiotherapy can help to improve health problems both physically and mentally and normally allows for leaving a hospital sooner. It can help to prevent some complications which arise when lying in hospital beds for long periods such as muscular atrophy, joints stiffness, bedsores, depression, secretion retention, weakness, deformities etc,...

A professional physiotherapist is necessary because of the vast array of techniques used in physiotherapy rehabilitation. A trained and qualified practitioner will know about human anatomy and techniques of therapy, either at first hand or via their network of similar professionals in the area of physiotherapy. This will give them the knowledge – and experience - to know which technique they should use to treat a patient.

Furthermore, because some diseases have cautions or contraindications with some treatment techniques, it is essential to have a properly trained physical therapist. Some wrong treatments can lead to further complications and in rare instances,  death.

When can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy is sometimes used in the preparation of a patient for further medical treatment. It is not simply to help put things right after an event! It is often used before or after surgery, or treatment from a doctor such as in pregnancy, post or pre-operation of bone fractures.

Some patients can be treated at home after hospital discharge, but some instances of physiotherapy require ward treatment program during a hospital stay.

Physiotherapy is often associated with post-injury treatment such as in sports mishaps. It can also be effective in helping some musculoskeletal pain conditions such as LBP (lower back pain) and muscle strains. Treatment can also be effective for  some patients who have deformities or those having abnormal muscle tones from neurologic problems.

Who needs Physiotherapy? Who can have it? Who cannot have it?

Physiotherapy is normally applied to general patients (adults or children) - but especially ones who have just had curative treatment by a doctor which then requires a period of rehabilitation and also as a preventative measure to avoid complications.

But if a patient has some contra-indications, he or she won't be able to have physiotherapy rehabilitation. That is just one of the reasons why it is essential to use a trained and qualified healthcare professional.

Where is physiotherapy carried out?

 You can have physiotherapy rehabilitation at home, hospital and also at clinic. Home care physiotherapy is often the normal procedure for neurologic disease patients.

How will Physiotherapy Help Me?

It helps a patient to recover sooner  - physically and mentally - including helping and showing them how to take care of their health to prevent further problems happening. Valuable advice from a professional is the way forward.

A physiotherapist can take care of you at home - such as for a patient who is paralyzed or has muscle weakness. This can sometimes be of help, if it is difficult for you to travel to a hospital/clinic to see a physiotherapist.

Additionally, a physiotherapist can give you advice of how to look after yourself; give advice to the ones who look after you after your returning home after a spell of hospitalization.

By Thanapa Vichaikammat
Bachelor Degree - Health Science of Physiotherapy – Khonkaen University, Th.



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