Physiotherapy is defined by the Australian Physiotherapy Association as a “healthcare profession that assesses, diagnoses, treats, and works to prevent disease and disability through physical means.” Physiotherapists are highly skilled health professionals with extensive knowledge in anatomy and physiology that assist them to assess, diagnose and treat injury and illness. The ultimate aim is to provide rehabilitative treatment to help people to move and function better.
During a physio appointment you are assessed using a series of objective examination techniques. You may not realise it at the time but your physiotherapist is measuring and checking the amount of movement in your joints, the flexibility, strength and tone in your muscles, the posture and alignment of your spine, shoulder blades, pelvis, hips, knees and feet. They use this information as well as the information you tell them about your symptoms, pain and the goals you’re hoping to achieve to come up with an individually tailored physiotherapy treatment program.
This treatment program may see you coming to physiotherapy 2-3 times in one week for a short burst of treatment through to once a month over a longer time. It all depends on you – your injury or condition and what you’re hoping for in terms of recovery. For some, it’s pain relief as quickly as possible, for others it’s trying to find the root of a persistent or recurring problem and devising a plan to permanently resolve it.
Treatments that physiotherapists provide include:
· exercise programs to improve mobility and strengthen muscles
· joint manipulation and mobilisation to reduce pain and stiffness
· muscle re-education to improve control
· airway clearance techniques and breathing exercises
· soft tissue mobilisation (massage)
· acupuncture and dry needling
· assistance with use of aids, splints, crutches, walking sticks and wheelchairs to help you move around.