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When Should You See a Physiotherapist?

When Should You See a Physiotherapist?

When Should You See a Physiotherapist?

Seeking the advice of an experienced physiotherapist is something that many athletes consider in their training efforts.  For starters, physiotherapists play a major role in the care and performance of athletes, but how exactly can a physiotherapist support the general population?

From an athletic standpoint, the use of a physiotherapist may appear pretty obvious, but for the general adult population, is there any benefit in seeing a physiotherapist and why would you even need to see one?

Let’s take a closer look into what a physiotherapist can offer you.

 

What Services does a Physiotherapist provide?

In order to have a good grasp on when to see a physiotherapist, it is important to have an idea as to what services a physio can offer.

Your experience with a physio varies depending on where you go, but overall, a physiotherapist provides rehabilitation, education and support, performance training, as well as assisting with stress relief in many aspects of your life.  Many physios have different certifications so it is important to search around for a physiotherapist who may best be able to assist with your problem.

The best bet is to make a selection on a physio that is well qualified and experienced and has a wide range of technical skills and advanced equipment .

Listed below are 10 reasons why you should see a physiotherapist along with what they can do to help for that specific scenario.

10 Important and Common Reasons to See a Physiotherapist

 

  1. Prevention of Injuries.

    Athletes are well in-tune with their physiotherapist, but for the common adult, a physio may be foreign.  For starters here, physios specialise in injury prevention, which is the process of adjusting posture, form and movement patterns to help reduce your risk of experiencing an injury or re-injury.

    Usually, adults seek the advice of a physio for rehabilitation from an injury that may have occurred after attempting the gym, trying a new fitness routine, or due to some occupational issue that arises (such as lower back pain or repetitive injuries). A physio can guide you in your rehabilitation, help you regain your strength and understand what things you can change to minimise the chances of injuring yourself again. Prevention is always preferable to cure, so getting some advice from a physio before you start at the gym or join bootcamp is a great idea. Remember, a physio understands both your exercise goals and how to get you there safely.

    When you visit a physio for injury prevention, you will be thoroughly evaluated.  First there will be some questions to evaluate your previous history, current situation and future goals. Then the physio will do a physical assessment to get a better understanding of how you move, and identify any weaknesses that may need addressing.  Once you have a diagnosis, the physio can lay out a direct path to help you succeed in your goals and prevent injuries.

    If you are prone to injuries, it may be wise to seek out a physio to reduce the risk of injury as soon as possible. This can save you a lot of pain, money and time off work.

  2. Work on Posture.

    There are many reasons as to why you could have nagging injuries popping up here or there, but your posture is perhaps one of the most critical components to avoiding nagging pains.

    Your posture may not be something you pay close attention to throughout your work day but if pain or injuries to your back, neck, and legs start to appear, then your posture may be one factor.

    One of the most common reasons for frequent headaches in office workers is poor posture caused by improper ergonomics.  With that in mind, a physio can help you to develop better awareness of your position, advice on your work set up and improve the function of your postural muscles so that you can avoid those nagging postural pains.

    Generally, a physio will develop specific exercises to strengthen the postural muscles and will guide you throughout your healing process.

  3. Alleviate Generalised Pain.

    Perhaps you do not have a specific injury causing pain.  Widespread, generalised pain can be linked with conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Hypermobility and many systemic rheumatological diseases. But there is much a physio can do to help your pain.

    Physios utilise ‘healing hands’ (hands-on techniques) to alleviate pain by stimulating certain nerve pathways to be less sensitive. They can also provide education on ways to cope with fatigue, how to best pace your physical activity and everyday chores and how to gradually increase your ability to do the things you need to do and most importantly, the things you love to do. A graduated exercise program can also help to reduce pain and develop more fitness, strength and stamina. A physiotherapist can make a very positive impact on your quality of life.

    While physio’s serve as pain relieving healers, it is important to understand that your pain levels do not need to be excruciating.  Lower level pains such as frequent nagging pains and dull headaches are a very common reason to see a physio. Don’t let these nagging problems drag on for months or years, when there is something you can do about it today – see a physio.

  4. Stretching & Flexibility.

    If you sit at a desk all day for work, you may think that stretching is not important since you were not active, but long periods of sitting can cause tightness in your lower back and hamstring muscle groups. Getting up and moving regularly and doing some regular simple stretches can make a big difference to work related aches and pains. Breaking your sitting with activity is also important for your general health. 

    If you spend a great amount of time typing on a computer then you should consider stretching your forearm and wrist extensor muscles throughout each day. Do you have neck aches?  Consider a stretching program to loosen the muscles that move your head.

    A physio is an expert in muscular health and wellness and they can create a detailed mobility/stretching routine. This can be provided via a free app with videos, reps, time and you can even set reminders to ensure you don’t forget to move your body regularly.  Consider this a highly beneficial commodity in your health and wellness.

    For some people however, stretching will not help a feeling of tightness or stiffness.  This may be a symptom of hypermobility (too much flexibility, sometimes called being ‘double-jointed’). If you do not have enough muscle support deep around flexible joints, the brain may signal big, superficial movement muscles to help out, working way more than they would normally. In this case, stretching will not help and may worsen the problem. A physio with expertise in this area can help ensure you are given the exercises that are right for you.

  5. Heal from a Complicated Surgical Procedure.

    One of the lesser known services a physio provides is healing from complicated surgeries. After surgery, you may be unable to be active or to exercise for quite some time. This may result in a lot of muscle weakness and a loss of physical fitness, making it much harder to return to your normal activities.

    A physio can help you to progress through a post-surgical rehab program, helping you to regain your muscle strength and fitness safely and effectively.

  6. Management of your Disease.

    There are many scenarios in which you could be diagnosed with a disease and your only option provided by your doctor is to manage the disease with medication.

    Type II diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis are all conditions in which adults are to manage their condition rather than “fix” the disease.

    A physiotherapist can take you through a suitable and appropriate exercise program to help you to manage your disease, based on your diagnosis and the findings of a detailed assessment.

    This is quite valuable because sometimes the management process with a physio is so beneficial that some clients can cut back on medications prescribed by doctors.

    If you are in a disease management process, you should always consult with your doctor about involving a qualified physio in your management plan.

  7. Manage a Physical Limitation.

    There are many conditions that people are born with that cause limitations.  Sometimes, limitations are created as you age, through car accidents, injuries, as well as new onset of debilitating diseases.

    Physiotherapists are highly skilled to work with these conditions so that you can better manage your limitation.

    Physios can help to train certain muscle groups and improve your mobility to make your daily life easier to manage, but they are also skilled at assisting with devices, braces, and various health-related accessories you may need for your condition.

  8. Recover from Hip or Knee Replacements.

    If there is any reason to ever see a physiotherapist, then perhaps this is the best reason.

    Physios work on a regular basis with clients who have been through a hip or knee replacement surgery.  There are 2 important things that a physio can do in these situations.

    Some physios offer pre-habilitation methods, which is exercising for a month or two before your surgery to help you recover from your surgery quicker.

    In addition, post-rehabilitation is essential for getting your joints working close to how they were before the surgery, but without the pain.

    You should definitely see a physiotherapist if you have a hip or knee surgery scheduled or are considering it.

  9. Receive Real-time Feedback on Movement and Muscular Usage.

    These services can help anyone from an older adult with back pain to athletes returning to sport or who want to help improve performance in some way or another.

    Some physiotherapists use certain sensor technology devices, such as the ViMove device, to monitor your movement patterns and muscular activity. Real-time ultrasound is also an incredible tool that allows the physio to see the muscles beneath your skin, to ensure they are healthy and able to activate in ways that best support and move your body.

    With this feedback, your physio is able to identify certain “weaker” spots throughout your body to aid your recovery or improve your recovery or athletic performance.

    This is valuable for any young athlete looking to elevate their performance and for any adult looking to simply improve upon weak areas in the body.

  10. Post-Partum Exercise Conditioning.

    Having a baby is a stressful situation for the body and the female body is subjected to many bodily changes during the months of pregnancy.

    For this reason, seeing a physio can help to strengthen areas that may have been stretched or weakened during pregnancy and they can help guide you on a plan to safely increase your activity level and help lose that extra baby weight as well. A Women’s Health physio can also help specifically with pelvic floor or bladder and bowel problems that may occur after childbirth.

    Seeing a physiotherapist is a safer option than a personal trainer, due to a physio’s understanding of the effects of pregnancy on the muscles, ligaments and joints and what is appropriate in the early months after having a baby. Many new mums develop problems when returning to high levels of activity too quickly or performing inappropriate exercise routines. Medical issues can also arise weeks or months after having a baby, so being under the care of a physiotherapist, who are Allied Health Professionals, is a good choice.

So Why Should You See a Physiotherapist?

After taking a look at some of the services a physio can provide across many different aspects of health, you should have a good idea as to why it is important to your overall wellness to see a physio.

Yes, a physio is an expert in healing injuries, but there is much more that a physio can offer.

Consider any or all of the reasons above to help guide you in your decision on when you should see a physiotherapist.

10 Ways That Physiotherapy Can Improve Your Lifestyle

10 Ways That Physiotherapy Can Improve Your Lifestyle

The Top 10 Ways that Physiotherapy can Improve your Life

Physiotherapy is not a relatively new area in healthcare; rather, it has been around for many centuries in some form but in Australia it was established as a formal association in 1906. With the now substantial amount of scientific research to support the profession and the high profile role that sports physiotherapists play in all forms of amateur and professional sport, physiotherapy has been gaining a considerable amount of popularity over recent times.

While many see physiotherapy as a part of healthcare that is mainly aimed at healing the injured and helping athletes to improve performance, there is so much more to this highly specialised field.

Considering that a physiotherapist holds a university degree which may range from a Bachelor to a Doctoral degree, you should expect that they can do quite a bit when it comes to recommending ways to improve your daily life.

There are clinics popping up all over, but what should you expect from physiotherapy and how can it help with your daily life?  Listed below are 10 ways that physiotherapy can improve your overall lifestyle so that you can continue with your usual activities of daily living.

  1. Holistic Healing.

    One of the basic things that physiotherapy can do, is to help with healing, but in a holistic way.
    Holistic healing is an approach to healing illness, injury, or a way to improve health by considering physical, psychological and social impacts on your health. Physiotherapist do not prescribe medication but work with your body and mind to promote healing and health. Many people tend to enjoy this perk and seek out the healing approaches of physiotherapy as a result.

    So what can a physiotherapist help with when it comes to holistic healing?  For starters, physiotherapists can help to alleviate pain, improve your body mechanics to reduce pain, aid in injury rehabilitation, prevent and decrease headaches, and help to improve blood circulation, decrease blood pressure, and promote overall wellness.  Not bad considering physiotherapists do not prescribe medications for the healing process.

  2. Physiotherapy Can Prevent Surgery.

    One common way physiotherapy can improve your lifestyle is by avoiding surgery.  Surgery is a critical part of healthcare and while it is needed in many aspects, there are certain situations when physiotherapy may be a better approach than surgery.  If you consistently have pain in your body and it is caused by some variable (let’s say lower back pain as an example), many adults tend to go the surgical route as a way to “fix” the issue.

    Sometimes this works and it is the best method of healing for the patient, but would you still do the surgery if there were options that a physiotherapist could help with?

    For starters, physiotherapists are able to find the issues that could be causing your lower back pain and can recommend and guide you through a series of exercises, stretches and postural activities.  Some techniques and advice can provide immediate pain relief and in other situations positive results develop over the course of a few sessions.  This is only one example, but if you are considering surgery for something that a physiotherapist can look at, why not give it a try?

  3. Improve your Athletic Performance.

    Not everyone who sees a physiotherapist needs some sort of healing.  In fact, many athletes (professional and amateur) seek the assistance of physiotherapy to help improve performance.  After all, physiotherapists are experts on muscles and body mechanics, so this would be the best source of any fitness “guru.”

    Physiotherapy uses technologically advanced machines, gadgets, and tools to find the best way to utilise muscles in the body.  Some clinics may use biofeedback devices and have their own gym facilities.  Consider physiotherapy as an effective method for improving your athletic ability and for improving your active lifestyle.

  4. Manage a Disease.

    When you are newly diagnosed with a disease, it can be a bit scary to face it in the eye immediately after leaving the doctor’s office.  There typically are many questions that are left unanswered and many are unable to be answered for that matter.  However, there are certain diseases that physiotherapy can help with while you go through the treatment process.

    For starters, physiotherapy is a great option for diabetics and for patients with poor blood circulation (which is often caused by diabetes).  Typically, physiotherapists use exercise as a way to manage diabetes and help to improve blood flow to certain parts of the body.  In addition to diabetes, physiotherapy is a great choice for patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

    Chemotherapy is known for decreasing energy levels in adults and shredding away endurance, not to mention it is quite challenging on the mind.  For this reason, physiotherapy can help to manage weakness and lethargy associated with cancer treatments, and your physio may be a great source of motivation throughout your entire treatment process.  Also, physiotherapists may be able to assist with some of the pain associated with certain cancers.

    There are many diseases that physiotherapists are faced with on a regular basis and seeking the advice within physiotherapy can be a holistic way to improve your life when living with an illness.

  5. Improve Balance.

    Older adults are at great risk of balance-related issues and balance tends to diminish with older age.  Throughout the aging process, reduction in bone density, muscle strength and balance can lead to falls and osteoporotic fracture for the older adult.

    Falls are a major cause of hip fractures, hip pain, broken bones, as well as head injuries, so finding any way possible to maintain proper balance is vital to health and wellness.  Physiotherapists commonly work with patients in falls prevention programs.  For starters, the physiotherapist may ask you about your home set-up, to help identify things that can place you at risk of a fall (such as loose rugs, pets, and bath mats).  In addition, physiotherapists will assess your balance, which usually you receive a score or a grade as a way to establish your starting point.

    Once you are assessed, the physiotherapist may guide you through a series of exercises and programs designed to maintain or improve your balance.  The older adult can certainly benefit from physiotherapy so if you are worried about your balance, consider this an option.

  6. Treat Incontinence.

    Incontinence can be an extremely embarrassing and distressing problem. So much so, that some women are fearful of attending social functions and stop participating in physical activity which is very negative for health and wellbeing. A Women’s Health physiotherapist is able to help with improving control of pelvic floor muscles and deal with other related bladder and bowel issues. Pelvic floor exercises are considered the first-line treatment for incontinence and are best provided by a trained health professional, your local Women’s Health Physiotherapist. Managing incontinence effectively can be life changing.

  7. Manage Arthritis.

    Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that affect your muscles, joints, and connective tissue and it can be quite burdensome on your daily life.  Treatment usually involves managing the symptoms, but one common way to help manage your pain due to arthritis is with physical activity.

    Physiotherapy can definitely help with arthritis and many patients are directed by a physiotherapist on how to safely and properly exercise with arthritis.  The use of physiotherapy can also be a holistic way to manage pain without the use of pain-relieving medications, which have side effects.

  8. Assist in the Management of Blood Pressure.

    Physiotherapy is surprisingly a great method for decreasing your blood pressure, or at least a method for managing it.

    As part of their practice, physiotherapists instruct patients and clients on how to recognise physical signs of stress that can increase blood pressure, and ways to address this. Relaxation exercises and deep breathing can be quite effective for this and your physiotherapist should be able to direct you through deep breathing programs.  Losing weight and exercising regularly are also important ways to reduce your blood pressure. You may not be exercising because of pain or an injury, lack of confidence or lack of know-how. Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start if you are not used to regular exercise. A physiotherapist can safely prescribe an exercise program or activity schedule that is suitable for your level of fitness and fits with the things you like to do. Consider asking your physiotherapist for guidance on how they can assist you in managing your blood pressure.

  9. Improve your Quality of Life.

    Your quality of life may not be what it should be for a number of different reasons – health and mobility issues are often a large factor. You may not be able to participate in sport, recreational activities or social events due to pain or a lack of physical capacity. Your mental health may be suffering due to these issues or due to excess weight or other health issues that can be improved markedly with a well directed exercise or activity program.

    Sometimes you know you are not in a good place, but are not really sure where to start with looking for help. A physiotherapist is an excellent option to guide you through the process of regaining your quality of life.

  10. Prevent Injuries from Occurring.

    Injuries are an inevitable part of life, to an extent.  Being physically active has its perks, but an active lifestyle has a greater risk of injury as well.  Physiotherapy can definitely help to prevent injuries from occurring; however, it should be known that not all injuries can be prevented.

    With the use of technology-driven devices, physiotherapists are able to identify problems with muscle strength, coordination, balance, flexibility and your training regime to gain a better picture as to the risk of an injury.  Consider seeking the advice of physiotherapy to see if you can prevent or decrease your risk of injuries with your active lifestyle.