Physiotherapy is well known for treating physical elements and injuries. But the scope of physiotherapy is much broader than this. A skilled therapist takes overall approach such as lifestyle, diet, occupation and stress. He/ she will create solution to improve patients overall well being.
Physiotherapists deal with patients at different levels right from pain management to focusing on emotional health. As physical and mental health is interdependent, a physiotherapist always has a holistic approach towards treatment. So, the patient’s treatment includes life style modification techniques, ergonomic correction, stress management, pain modulating methods and exercise regimen.
This is a series of five articles as below-
- Part 1: Getting Healed with Physiotherapy- Basics
- Part 2: Exercise therapy- Gateway towards healthy life
- Part 3: Manual therapy- Healing Hands of Physiotherapists
- Part 4: Electrotherapy- Applying the benefits of a Super-Power
- Part 5: Quantum resonance therapy- Innovative Technology in Physiotherapy
Before deciding treatment protocols, proper clinical assessment is important. It forms the basis of future treatment, diagnosis and prognosis.
So, let’s understand the assessment methods used in Physiotherapy:
Assessment in Physiotherapy
After knowing your name, age and gender it’s time for history taking. History plays a crucial part in assessment. It guides towards the further necessary assessment and diagnosis. History changes as per the nature of condition, for example, in case of stroke, history about vomiting, headache, sudden fall and loss consciousness or in case of trauma or fracture, history of type of fall, height of fall, position while falling and direction in which force is applied on the body are important.
Pain history is assessed based on the following 8 points-
- Precipitating factor ( movement or position that causes pain)
- Quality of pain
- Relieving factor
- Site of pain
- Temporal variation ( Intensity of pain in the morning/night)
- Nature of pain
- Intensity of pain
Along with all this, co-morbidities like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, PCOD, DVT and previous history of surgery are noted.
In this he/she will look for swelling, redness, deformity, change in skin colour and many more. Along with this observing the posture and gait (walking pattern) is also important.
After this, palpation for tenderness, swelling or any bony misalignment is done.
Then comes, assessment of muscle strength, muscle tightness, muscle tone, adhesions in muscle and joint range of motion,etc. Also special tests, scales and other investigations are used.
In some cases auscultation and chest assessment might be required depending upon condition.
Treatment in Physiotherapy
Now depending upon the assessment, an individualized treatment method is planned.
There are various treatment methods available in physiotherapy that includes:
- Exercise therapy
- Manual therapy
- Taping Techniques
- Relaxation techniques
- Breathing exercises and Chest Physiotherapy
- Posture Correction and Ergonomics
- Stress Management and Counselling
So, let’s get familiar with these treatment methods:
Exercise therapy is the scientific use of various exercises as a part of rehabilitation, after any injury or surgery and for preventing injuries. Exercises are used to correct the bodily impairment. Basic purpose of this therapy is to increase muscle strength, reduce muscle tightness, increase joint range of motion, increase muscle endurance, reduce pain , increase balance, reduce risk of re-injury and increase overall independence of the patient.
Exercises increase secretion of hormones which give calming effects, relaxation and improve mental health. It also increases functional capacity of heart and lung with positive changes in the brain and spinal cord. The exercises are designed according to the patient’s present condition and necessary progression is done.
Manual Therapy :
Manual therapy, or manipulative therapy, is a physical treatment primarily used by physiotherapists to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability. It mostly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilizations and joint manipulations.
It consists of the use of specific force given by hand in a particular direction for a specific duration of time. Sometimes assistive devices are also used. There are various methods used in manual therapy starting from transverse friction massage, manipulation, mobilisation, muscle energy technique, myofascial release, nerve and tendon mobilization, dry needling and many more.
It is the use of electric current for medical treatment. Physiotherapists are experts in this field of treatment. There are various electrotherapeutic modalities used by Physiotherapists.
Nowadays use of electromagnetic therapy for medical purposes is also increasing. Electrotherapy can be used for various purposes like pain reduction, wound healing, fracture healing and muscle re-education. It is one of the effective pain reduction methods that can be less hazardous, non invasive and economical.
There are various electrotherapy equipments available for treatment purposes. This includes thermal modalities, non thermal modalities and electrical stimulation. Commonly used modalities are Ultrasound, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation), IFT (Interferential Current Therapy), PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy), Laser Therapy and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation. Use of every device changes as per physical status of the patient. Physiotherapist is an expert and authorized practitioner for electrotherapy devices and modalities.
Quantum Resonance Therapy is an innovative therapy designed by Quantesla Medical Technologies. The name of the device is Celtron. This is India’s first smart device which consists of a combination of two therapies PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Therapy) and MMO (Magneto Mechanical Oscillator). PEMF improves microcirculation, removes unwanted metabolites and enhances healing. MMO is a handheld oscillatory device that produces healthy intrinsic frequency which improves cellular metabolism, lymphatic drainage and functional recovery.