-Dr Rakhi Goyal
In today’s materialistic world, everyone is just running to make their materialistic lives better. In this process definitely they get financial success, lead luxurious lifestyle, but in totality they tend to loose the most important part of life i.e. health. Going back few years in time, our parents or grandparents worked around 35 to 40 years of their life and they are still active. But in today’s scenario when lifestyle becomes so inactive/sedentary, I personally feel those working years are getting reduced adversely day by day. Long working hours, prolonged ill postured working in front of computers/laptops, excessive use of mobile phones and other gadgets are leading to early degeneration of priceless human joints and many musculoskeletal disorders.
If the world is a playground, doctors are its health custodians, and with alarmingly changing urban lifestyle, especially in countries like India, physiotherapists are no less than guardian angles. This, I say, as I witness through patients in all walks of life each day, wanting to absolve them of pain as they seek physios’ expertise in putting their lives back on track. We are, therefore, I feel, no less than supercomputers, analysing each patient’s pain and reasons thereof, and enabling them with almost instant cure and improving their lifestyles.
Physiotherapist attempts to address the illnesses, or injuries that limit a person’s abilities to move and perform daily activities. The diverse field of physiotherapy is an apt solution to the grave and constantly declining healthy lifestyle. In short physiotherapy management “adds life to years.”
WCPT: Founded in 1951, the world confederation for physical therapy (WCPT) is the sole international voice for physical therapy, representing more than 350,000 physical therapist worldwide through its 112 member organisations. The confederation operates as a non-profit organisation and is registered as a charity in the UK. WCPT believes that every individual is entitled to the highest possible standards of culturally appropriate healthcare delivered in an atmosphere of trust and respect for human dignity, and underpinned by sound clinical reasoning and scientific evidence.
It is committed to furthering the physical therapy profession and improving global health through:
- Encouraging high standards of physical therapy research, education and practice.
- Supporting the exchange of information between WCPT regions and member organisations.
- Collaborating with national and international organisations.
World Physical Therapy Day: It is celebrated every year on September 8. The day is an opportunity for physical therapist from all over the world to raise awareness about the crucial contribution the profession makes to keeping people well, mobile and independent. The overarching theme for world physical therapy day each year is movement for health. This year 2016, the suggested message was “add life to years”, highlighting the important role that physical therapist play in healthy ageing.
Physiotherapy is a professional career which has many specialities including orthopedics, neurology, sports, geriatrics, women’s health, cardiopulmonary.
Orthopedic Physiotherapy: It is the oldest branch of physiotherapy. It is mainly oriented towards the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. The role of an orthopedic physiotherapy specialist is:
- To correct impaired posture
- To correct impaired joint mobility
- Improve muscle performance
- Treat localised inflammation such as in muscle strain and tear.
- Improve range of motions connected with connective tissues dysfunction.
- Post operative rehabilitation such as total knee replacement.
Neurological physiotherapy is a field focused on working with individuals who have a neurological disorder. These can include stroke, chronic back pain, celebral palsy; facial palsy. Common problems associated with neurologic conditions include impaired balance, ambulation, activities of daily living, movement, muscle strength and loss of functional independence.
Pregnancy is a time of tremendous musculoskeletal, physical and emotional change and yet is a condition of wellness. During and after pregnancy women present a unique challenge for the physical therapist.
Women’s health physical therapy mostly treats women’s issues related to the female reproductive system,child birth and post partum. These conditions include osteoporosis, pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, low back pain, varicose veins.
During and after pregnancy low back and pelvic pain are two major issues with women. Pain in low back commonly occurs due to the postural changes of pregnancy, increased ligament laxity and decreased abdominal function. It can be treated effectively with proper body mechanics, posture instructions and improvement in work techniques.
Varicosities aggravated in pregnancy by increased uterine weight, venous stasis in the legs. There may be a range of mild discomfort to severe pain in the lower extremities especially when legs are in the dependent position. It can be treated by some exercises and use of elastic support stockings. Women should be encouraged to elevate the lower extremities as often as possible.
Women’s health physiotherapist also plays a major role in preparing the upper extremities for the demands of infant care by teaching resistive exercises to appropriate muscles.
Urinary incontinence (UI): it is the complaint of any involuntary loss of urine. The most common form is stress UI.
InStress UI there is the uncontrollable loss of urine when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Any activity that results in an increase in pressure in the abdominal cavity may contribute to stress UI. This happens when pelvic floor muscles have been weakened and the bladder has slipped lower. Stress UI is a common medical condition and is treatable. Physiotherapist prescribed following things to treat same:
- Pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
- Electrical stimulation therapy makes use of electrical currents’ to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- Keep body weight within healthy limits. By doing so, the weight of the abdominal contents pressing against the pelvic floor is lessened and prevents the pelvic floor from weakening further.
- Patient is advised to have diet rich in fibers.
- Seek early treatment for prolonged cough and stop smoking preferably.
- Tighten your pelvic floor before lifting heavy objects, changing positions, coughing or sneezing.
Chest physical therapy
It is a multifaceted area of professional practice that deals with the evaluation and treatment of patients of all ages with acute or chronic lung disorders. It employs a wide range of therapeutic exercises and related modalities to effectively evaluate and treat the patient with cardiopulmonary dysfunction. The goals of chest physical therapy are aimed at:
- Prevention of airway obstructions and accumulation of secretions that interfere with normal respiration.
- Improve endurance and general exercise tolerance
- Improve chest mobility
- Promote relaxation.
- Increase the effectiveness of cough mechanisms through breathing exercises.
- Teach the patient how to deal with shortness of breath attacks.
Physiotherapists are also closely involved in the care and well-being of athletes. Athletes normally require high level performance and demand placed upon their body, which stresses their joints, muscles and bones to the limit. Sports therapist helps them to recover from sporting injuries and provide education and resources to prevent problems. Each sports therapist usually has sport specific knowledge that addresses acute, chronic and overuse injuries.
Common physiotherapy treatment options
- Electrotherapeutic modalities: Electrical currents such as IFT, TENS, ultrasonic therapy, short wave diathermy, long wave diathermy, are commonly used modalities in physiotherapy departments. The main purpose of using these modalities is to release inflammation and give symptomatic relief to patient.
- Exercise therapy: The goal of therapeutic exercises include the prevention of dysfunction as well as the development ,improvement ,restoration, or maintenance of strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness, mobility and flexibility,stability,relaxation,coordination,balance and functional skills.
- Joint mobilisation: This term refers to techniques that are used to treat joint dysfunction such as stiffness, reversible joint hypo mobility and pain. Joint mobilisation is a manual therapy intervention, a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint.
- Muscle stretching: Stretching is a general term used to describe any therapeutic maneuver designed to lengthen pathologically shortened soft tissue structures and thereby to increase range of motion.
- Muscle energy techniques: These techniques directed at improving musculoskeletal or joint function and improving pain.
- Dry needling: It is a technique used by therapist to treat myofascial pain. In this technique dry needle inserted through skin (no prior use of injection or medication) into areas of the muscle, known as trigger points.
- Massage and soft tissue techniques
- Taping techniques: Physiotherapists are using this technique to treat both athletes and non athletes. Variety of tapes are used for example: when there is need to restrict joint movement rigid strapping tape is use and when there is need to compress and support joint or muscles , elastic adhesive bandage is commonly used.
So, summarising, Physiotherapy is not only a Science. It is an art, a craft in which the Physiotherapist is like a healer, a fine musician who takes away all pain of the patients & blesses and restores, joy & self belief. What’s most compelling is that I gain self confidence too in my practice, in the process. An enduring journey, a journey with eternal contentment!
About the author: Dr Rakhi Goyal is a Physiotherapist with over 10 years of professional experience. She is a Bachelor of Physiotherapy from IP University. Her fields of specialisation include Musculoskeletal Disorders, Post Operative Rehabilitation, Resolve Joint Pains, Cervical Spondylosis, and Low Back Pain/ Disorders. You may connect with Dr Goyal at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at +91 9810642262.