What is a Physiotherapist?
A physiotherapist is a person who, having studied at university, becomes an expert in how the body moves; they help their patients recover from injury, and can also assist with everyday conditions (such as arthritis) that can prevent one from moving freely and without pain. They will work with you to create a programme designed specifically to achieve your goals and return to baseline mobility (or as close to it as possible, if you are recovering from injury or illness). In short, they are well-versed in habilitation (making someone fit enough to do something), rehabilitation (getting someone back to pre-injury or illness baseline) or promotion (improving someone’s overall fitness and abilities).
Your physiotherapist will use a variety of techniques to get you and your body moving again:
- Muscle re-education
- Heat and cold packs
- Electrical stimulation, such as that from a TENS machine
- Exercise routines
A physio will help diagnose and treat a number of disorders, such as tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis (anything ending in -itis is an inflammation), and other associated musculoskeletal conditions. However, most physiotherapists will work towards treating the whole body, and will assist the patient with core strength, gait and posture, even breathing (the latter is especially used in most respiratory wards in hospitals; patients with COPD, for example, benefit greatly from exercises designed specifically to get their lungs functioning at their full capacity). Some physiotherapists can specialise, and they treat issues such as obesity and incontinence. Others can work in aged care, helping the elderly maintain their level of fitness or assisting them to recover after a stroke or other life-changing event.