Many adults experience chronic pain, with over 50 million people in the United States suffering from it. The causes of their pain can range from arthritis, a sports injury, or a car accident. No matter the cause of your chronic pain, you don’t need to live in discomfort.
Physiotherapy treatment is an effective way to manage your chronic pain. Your mobility will improve and your everyday life will be easier as you work with a physiotherapist in a tailored treatment plan. Physiotherapists are experts at evaluating the human body and helping you get back to your optimal performance.
This guide will go over some of the most common physiotherapy treatment options and what you can expect when you make an appointment.
What Is Physiotherapy?
A physiotherapist works with patients to help improve their balance and mobility, and manage their pain. You may be referred to one if you have an injury or illness that impacts your ability to carry out your daily tasks or move around.
Some of the factors that can impact your movement and function include:
- Health conditions
- Environmental factors
- Weight issues
Physiotherapists take a holistic approach to healing the body. They address the physical aspects of your health and your social, psychological, and emotional well-being as well.
Some of the methods physiotherapists employ are:
- Muscle massages
- Muscle stimulation devices
- Joint manipulation
- Teaching lifestyle activities like posture or walking
- Muscle stretching
Physical therapy is designed to improve your quality of life. Your therapist will work with you at all stages of your wellness journey.
Your First Appointment – Assessment
The first appointment with your physiotherapist will be a general assessment to evaluate your symptoms and go over the various physiotherapy treatment options that will help you on your road to recovery. They’ll ask about your medical history. They’ll also ask specific questions about the current ailment you’re dealing with and how it impacts your daily life.
All of the questions they ask and the information they gather is vital for the physiotherapist to design a treatment plan that is safe and effective. You’ll go over your expectations and goals for your treatments.
After the questioning portion of the assessment, your physiotherapy will want to evaluate your body. You might be asked to remove some articles of clothing but be open and honest with your physiotherapist about what you’re comfortable with.
They’ll observe you doing basic movements like sitting, lying down, or standing. Your physiotherapist might also move your limbs around to check your flexibility. They could also palpitate your muscles to feel what your tissue is doing.
The assessment appointment is generally pain-free but you might experience some mild discomfort, depending upon what you’re going through. Give your physiotherapist any feedback on what you’re feeling.
Physiotherapy Treatment Options
After your assessment appointment, your physiotherapist will create a tailored treatment plan. Below are some of the treatment types they may employ to heal your body and treat your symptoms.
Manual therapy is an effective treatment option for any injury. This can include massages, strengthening exercises, or stretching. It helps reeducate your body into proper mechanics and movements.
Some of the benefits of manual therapy include:
- Improved blood circulation
- Pain and stiffness relief
- More efficient fluid drainage from your body
- Improve mobility and movement
Manual therapy isn’t only used to treat pain in your body. It can also be employed to help other conditions like anxiety or improving how well you sleep.
Heat is used for injuries that involve muscular tightness or spasms. Applying heat to those areas can help increase your mobility and decrease your pain. The heat makes your body’s tissues more pliable, helping the therapist stretch them easier.
Heat is used in conjunction with other components in a treatment plan. Heat shouldn’t be the central focus.
Another component of thorough injury treatment, ice helps reduce swelling and inflammation in your body. It constricts the blood vessels as it’s applied, preventing and reducing inflammation after an injury. It can also help improve joint mobility and add to manual therapy.
Electrical stimulation or shockwave therapy is an effective way to restore the strength of your muscles. It helps restore your body’s muscular function after you’ve had a traumatic injury.
The electrical stimulation application can cause your muscles to retract. It results in restoring the proper function and movement of your muscles faster than if you just used exercises. Studies have shown that it can help speed up recovery after knee replacement surgeries.
For connective tissue injuries, ultrasound therapy is often employed. The ultrasound wand emits sound waves to create heat deep within your body. This is a safe process.
The sound waves loosen up your body’s tissues, helping prepare them for exercise or manual therapy. It’s another great therapy option that’s used in conjunction with other treatments.
To stay healthy after your treatment for any injury, your physiotherapy will likely recommend exercising. They won’t recommend general exercises for you to do. They will be tailored to help strengthen specific muscles.
The exercises will also address any imbalances that exist within your muscles as well. By performing daily exercises, you can help your body stay loose and avoid any day-to-day aches and pains.
A qualified physiotherapist will employ a combination of physiotherapy treatments to help heal your body and get you living pain-free days.
Seek Out Help for Your Pain and Discomfort
If you’ve recently experienced an injury or have suffered from chronic pain for many years, you should seek out help from a physiotherapist. Physiotherapy treatment is an effective and safe way to improve your quality of life and decrease your discomfort. It treats your whole body instead of masking your symptoms with pain medications.
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