Physiotherapy – The Basics


Physiotherapy, also called occupational therapy, is an allied health profession dedicated to treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system, particularly the skeletal system. Physical therapists provide physical therapy that helps to prevent or reduce disabilities caused by injury or disease. The scope of physical therapy is very broad, but includes a variety of modalities including heat treatment, laser therapy, electrical stimulation, manual therapy, and massage therapy. Many physical therapists offer consultation for patients who are in need of other health care services, such as cardiac rehabilitation, neuromuscular therapy, and orthopedic surgery.

Physical therapists use techniques such as balance and strength training, resistance training, stretching, and pressure relief to help patients improve their mobility, reduce pain, and prevent recurrences of injuries. A physical therapist can treat injured joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments; heal bones and muscles; and prevent deformities and sprains. Therapy may be applied directly to the affected area or it may require that the physical therapist position the patient so that key muscles are rested on firm supportive muscles. Some physical therapy techniques may require the assistance of a therapist to provide activities that are restricted only by the patient’s ability or inability to perform alone. Examples include exercises to strengthen back muscles or to correct muscle imbalances. Massage therapy may be used to reduce pain and improve mobility, while other types of exercises may be recommended for patients with chronic diseases or injuries that affect the musculoskeletal system.

In order to achieve improved mobility and quality of life, patients should perform exercises that strengthen muscles and tendons and improve flexibility. For example, if a patient suffers from an acute shoulder injury that affects his/her ability to move around, physical therapists may recommend using stabilization exercises, such as sit-ups, crunches, and stretches to help increase strength and improve range of motion. In some cases, physical therapists may recommend exercise programs consisting of stretching and/or strength training exercises to achieve improvement in mobility. In more advanced cases, patients may be referred to physical therapists with experience in rehabilitation. These professionals can also provide advice regarding exercises that can be performed in the home or at work.

Once physical therapists determine that the patient is improving, they can begin recommending targeted exercises designed to specifically target the muscles of the neck and legs, which can alleviate pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, nerve compression, and hip dysplasia. Some patients may also need to use special braces or crutches to increase their ability to stand and walk. Caregivers and family members can help to manage symptoms when needed. Some physical therapy practices provide counseling services to both the patient and their caregivers. Other clinics offer therapies to promote health and wellness, while helping to manage stress and improve mental health.

Physiotherapists are doctors who specialize in treating problems with the musculoskeletal system. They receive specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, injury, and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This means that they are highly trained in providing treatments to patients with diseases of the skeletal, muscular, neurological, and circulatory systems. Many physiatrists participate in continuing education programs to keep their certifications current. In order to practice in a state without becoming a certified physiotherapist, a person must pass both a written and clinical examination.

If you suffer from any type of chronic or debilitating pain condition, you should consider trying physical therapy first. There are many benefits to physiotherapy besides alleviating pain: it can improve movement, ease pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, and improve overall fitness. A neuromusculoskeletal specialist can evaluate your condition and recommend a treatment plan that includes exercises and medication. Physiotherapists are found in many different locations, including private offices, clinics, hospitals, schools, and rehabilitation centers.

Opal Physiotherapy and Health Clinic
20226 Fraser Hwy #102, Langley, BC V3A 4E6
(604) 532-7887