What is physiotherapy?
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Physical therapy or physical therapy helps people regain movement and strength in critical parts of the body after illness or injury. But physical therapy doesn't just help a person regain strength and range of motion; It can also help some people manage pain, whether it's caused by poor posture, injury, or illness (such as arthritis). If done properly and regularly, physical therapy can help prevent permanent damage and recurring problems.
Most physical therapists use a combination of techniques to relieve pain and improve coordination, strength, endurance, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical therapists often ask their patients to use exercise equipment, such as bicycles or treadmills.
In addition to exercising the affected area, the physiotherapist can also treat it with heat or cold, with electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage and even aquatic therapy (exercises in a pool). In many cases, physical therapists gently massage the tissue in the injured areas and monitor the patient while they perform stretching routines.
Physical therapists often give exercises for patients to do at home. These exercises, combined with treatments and exercises done in the physical therapist's office, help a person heal better, faster, and safely.
What to look for in a physical therapist
It is important that you make sure that the physical therapist is qualified to treat you. All physical therapists must have an advanced diploma in physical therapy and must be state licensed in order to work. To begin work, a physical therapist must have a Ph.D. (DPT).
Like doctors, some physical therapists specialize in different areas: for example, a physical therapist might work primarily with sports injuries. Others may be experts in head injury or caring for muscle injuries and damage due to burns or skin injuries. Some physical therapists focus specifically on athletes, children, infants, the elderly, or the sick.
Your doctor can recommend the right physical therapist for you, but you need to make sure you feel comfortable with that professional. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Some questions you might ask are the following:
· How much experience do you have treating people with my condition?
· How will you decide what is the right treatment?
The first visit
Many (but not all) states require a referral from your doctor so that a physical therapist can evaluate and treat you. If you are under 18 years of age and you go to a hospital or clinic, it is advisable that the first time you are accompanied by one of your parents or a guardian. Not only will you have their support and you will have someone to talk to about your experience, but you will also have someone who can help you do the exercises at home; And maybe give you a boost when you're not motivated!
You will most likely visit the physical therapist in a clinic or office. But some physical therapists work in schools, helping students with injuries, disabilities, or chronic (long-term) conditions. When you go to physical therapy appointments, try to wear loose-fitting clothing and athletic shoes so the professional can accurately measure your strength and range of motion. If you have a knee problem, you should bring shorts to your visit.
During the first visit, the physiotherapist will assess your needs and may ask you how you feel, if you have pain and what level of pain you feel on a scale of 0 to 10. It is important that you are totally honest with the physical therapist so that he can treat properly your condition.
Using the results of the exam and your doctor's recommendations, the physical therapist will create a treatment plan. In many cases, the physical therapist will begin treatment during the first visit and will even give you exercises to do at home.
Your physical therapist will likely ask you to do these exercises while you're in the office to make sure you know how to do them when you're alone. Many physical therapists give patients a written exercise paper so they remember what to do and in what order (if this is important). Make sure you stick to the plan; The greatest benefit of physical therapy comes from the routines that patients do at home.
Some people like to keep track of their progress during physical therapy and take notes of how often they do the exercises, how they feel, and what feelings change. This will help both you and the physical therapist to monitor your treatment.
Each physical therapy session usually lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, and is done one to several times a week; depending on the reason the person is receiving therapy. As you progress, the length and frequency of your visits may change. You will learn new techniques that will help you continue to heal.
In large practices, you may see different physical therapists during the course of your treatment. If you see a new face, don't worry, but make sure the physical therapist working with you knows about your condition and that you feel comfortable asking the therapists questions. Remember: If you don't like the treatment or something doesn't seem right, speak up.
If you are in pain, be sure to talk to your physical therapist. You do not want to approach physical therapy thinking that you must be in pain to get results. Pain is a warning sign, and if you push yourself despite a lot of pain, you may do more damage.
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