Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle. At the core is the patient’s involvement in their own care, through education, awareness, empowerment and participation in their treatment. You can benefit from physiotherapy at any time in your life. Physiotherapy helps with back pain or sudden injury, managing long-term medical condition such as asthma, and in preparing for childbirth or a sporting event.
Physios use their knowledge and skills to improve a range of conditions associated with different systems of the body, such as:
Neurological (stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s)
Neuromusculoskeletal (back pain, whiplash associated disorder, sports injuries, arthritis)
Cardiovascular (chronic heart disease, rehabilitation after heart attack)
Respiratory (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis).
Physiotherapists work in a variety of specialisms in health and social care.
Three of the main approaches a physiotherapist may use are: Education and advice; Movement and exercise; Manual therapy
Education and advice – One of the main aspects of physiotherapy involves looking at the body as a whole, rather than focusing on the individual factors of an injury. Therefore, giving general advice about ways to improve your wellbeing – for example, by taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight for your height and build – is an important part of treatment.
A physiotherapist can also give you specific advice that you can apply to everyday activities to look after yourself and reduce your risk of pain or injury. For example, if you have back pain, you may be given advice about good posture, correct lifting or carrying techniques, and avoiding awkward twisting, over-stretching or prolonged standing.
Movement and exercise – Physiotherapists usually recommend movement and exercise to help improve your mobility and function. This may include:
- Exercises designed to improve movement and strength in a specific part of the body – these usually need to be repeated regularly for a set length of time;
- Activities that involve moving your whole body, such as walking or swimming – these can help if you’re recovering from an operation or injury that affects your mobility;
- Exercises carried out in warm, shallow water (hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy) – the water can help relax and support the muscles and joints, while providing resistance to help you gradually get stronger;
- Advice and exercises to help you increase or maintain your physical activity – advice will be given on the importance of keeping active, and how to do this in a safe, effective way; Providing mobility aids – such as crutches or a walking stick to help you move around.
Your physiotherapist may also recommend exercises that you can continue doing to help you manage pain in the long term or reduce your risk of injuring yourself again. You can find exercise advice leaflets for some common problems, as well as exercises to prevent falls, on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) website.
Manual therapy – This is a technique where a physiotherapist uses their hands to manipulate, mobilise and massage the body tissues. This can help:
- relieve pain and stiffness;
- improve blood circulation;
- help fluid drain more efficiently from parts of the body;
- improve the movement of different parts of the body;
- promote relaxation.
Manual therapy can be used to treat specific problems, such as back pain, but may also be useful for a range of conditions that don’t affect the bones, joints or muscles. For example, massage may improve quality of life for some people with serious or long-term conditions by reducing levels of anxiety and improving sleep quality. Manual techniques are also used to help certain lung conditions.
Finding a physiotherapist
Physiotherapy is available through the NHS or privately. You may need a referral from your GP to have physiotherapy on the NHS, although in some areas it’s possible to refer yourself directly. Locally in Ilkley there are several private physiotherapists who can provide appropriate treatment. Moor Therapy Solutions specialises in providing physiotherapy to the elderly. Further information can be found on their website: https://www.moortherapysolutions.com/.
At Right at Home Ilkley, Keighley & Skipton, our Care Givers work closely with physiotherapists and other health care professionals to promote the overall wellbeing of our clients. Do contact our friendly team on 01943 603794 for further information.