Physiotherapists are trained to treat a number of different medical conditions. Here we will give you the low down on the main illnesses and problems they treat and how a physiotherapist helps sufferers. However, you should be aware that these are only a few of the conditions that physiotherapists treat.
Asthma is a condition that causes recurrent breathlessness, wheezing and difficulty in breathing. This condition mainly affects children but adults can also develop asthma. A physiotherapist can teach you and your child how to use an inhaler to prevent attacks and can offer other advice on reducing the risk of attacks and promoting your child's exercise tolerance. Physiotherapists can also teach you techniques to clear secretions from the child's lungs, as well as breathing control and relaxation exercises.
A fracture is a break in the bone but once the bone has been realigned and splinted (put in plaster) a physiotherapist is brought in to offer advice about the positioning of the limb and teach exercises to avoid muscles wasting and joints becoming stiff. A physiotherapist can also help the patient to get used to walking with crutches or other walking aids.
Once the plaster has been removed, the physiotherapist puts together a rehabilitation programme including specific exercises and a general fitness programmes aimed at reducing swelling, regaining full muscle power and joint movement, thus bringing back full function to the limb.
Physiotherapists are trained to diagnose problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body. After carrying out a comprehensive assessment to locate the cause of the back pain they will put together a treatment plan. Physiotherapy for back pain includes a wide range of treatments, such as manipulation, mobilisation and massage, which are designed to relieve the pain, promote relaxation and restore movement.
Probably the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage covering the end of bones becomes thin and worn, making the joints stiff and painful to move. Physiotherapists play a vital role in treating this painful condition because they are trained to use a range of techniques, such as manipulation, that can relieve pain and stiffness, and improve mobility, co-ordination and posture. Other physiotherapy treatments used for arthritis include hot and cold treatments, acupuncture and relaxation techniques.
Cerebral Palsy is the term used to describe disorders of movement and posture, which affect about 1 in 400 children. Physiotherapy plays a central role in managing this condition, often from birth. Once a problem is identified, a physiotherapist assesses the child and records their development. They tailor a treatment plan to meet the childís individual needs, which will include teaching the child how to control their head movements and how to sit, roll over, crawl and walk, as well as trying to inhibit normal reflexes and patterns of movement. In addition to all this, physiotherapists teach parents how to handle their child at home for feeding, bathing, dressing and other activities.
Damage to the nervous system from injury or disease can lead to difficulty in controlling movement, speech, vision, swallowing, and bowel and bladder control. Physiotherapists specially trained in neurology treat people with a wide range of conditions including head injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal injuries and strokes. Treatment of nerve disorders usually includes stretches, exercises, and regular standing or walking.
A stroke can affect a personís ability to control movement on one side of the body, affecting the head, arm, leg and face. This condition can also affect a personís speech, vision, swallowing, and bowel and bladder movements. Physiotherapists play a central role in helping stroke sufferers to regain independence, and the treatments they provide include guided movements of limbs, and relearning how to sit, stand and walk.
If the condition you are considering getting treatment for is not mentioned here you could try osteopathslocal.co.uk (LINK) or chiropractorslocal.co.uk (LINK) to see if professionals in these professions may be able to help you better.