What Is Physiotherapy?









Last Updated: Mar 19, 2020

Physiotherapy - Types, Treatment, Procedure, Cost And Side Effects

About Types Physiotherapy vs Physical therapy How is physiotherapy done? Who needs physiotherapy? Conditions Sessions Does physiotherapy really work? Side effects Time period Cost Results Alternatives

What is Physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy helps to restore mobility and normalcy in a patient's life after he/she is affected by an injury, disease or disability. Components of a physiotherapy session include manual therapy, advising and educating the patient. Physiotherapy can help a patient of any age to manage further pain and prevent subsequent injuries or diseases. In a nutshell, physiotherapy helps a patient improve and maximize his/her physical strength, functioning and general well-being while taking care of the underlying issues.

It adopts a more holistic approach to a patient's treatment process by taking into consideration his/her lifestyle and other dimensions of their lives. It helps prevent disability and injury, manages chronic as well as acute health conditions, manages and betters physical performance of the patient, provides rehabilitation from the injury and educates patients on how to prevent any further recurrence.

What are the types of physiotherapy treatments?

Physiotherapy types:

  1. Neurological: This therapy is given when there is a loss of balance and coordination and balance, extreme weakness of the muscles, loss of function, muscle spasms, and if there is a decrease in sensation. The main aim of the neurological physiotherapy is to establish mobility of the body part and to treat the functional disorders of the body which has occurred due to the nervous system disorder like stroke, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's, etc.
  2. Orthopedic: The main aim of this therapy is to treat the diseases related to the musculoskeletal system, including correcting the muscles, bones, ligaments, joints, tendons. Through this therapy, pain is alleviated, increasing the mobilization, and for rectifying any skeletal injury.
  3. Cardiopulmonary: This therapy is given to the person who has suffered any cardiopulmonary disorders like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiac arrest. The main aim of this kind of physiotherapy is to tell or educate patients about exercise and techniques through which they can improve the quality of their life.
  4. Pediatric: This is a kind of physiotherapy which is done to improve the acute injuries which are found in children in the time of birth which involves certain genetic defects or delay in physical growth. In the physiotherapy, there are various exercises which are done strengthening the affected part of the body and to improve the movement of the body parts.
  5. Geriatric: In this kind of physiotherapy age-related matters are treated like osteoporosis, arthritis. In these certain movements of the body restricted to avoid the pain but on the other hand, patients are given aids and exercises improve the overall mobility of the body.
  6. Vestibular rehabilitation: The main focus of this vestibular therapy is to bring back the balance of the body which is caused by a problem in the inner ear which destroys the balance and gives the sensation of vertigo and chronic dizziness. This therapy teaches the body to gain back the balance and the muscles to become more studier.

What is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy?

Physiotherapy vs physical therapy:

The physiotherapy community has been divided into three different titles that are physiotherapy, physical therapy, and kinesiotherapy. Physical therapy and physiotherapy both are the professions which are concerned with maintaining the function and maximizing the physical support of the body.

Physical therapy includes the manual treatment of soft tissues that is tendons, ligaments, muscles, and fascia. Where physiotherapy includes the treatment of a person suffering from pain, injury or disability. The manual therapy includes manipulation, mobilization and myofascial release.

How is physiotherapy done?

A physiotherapist may employ a variety of techniques, determined by the nature of the injury sustained and the particular problem that is being treated. The commonest of them are:

  • Manual manipulation: Moving the soft tissues and the joints better circulation, flushes excess fluids from the body and relaxes overly tight muscles and spasms.
  • Electrical stimulation of the nerves: Delivering electric currents in controlled intensity to the affected part helps to contain the pain signals, thus preventing them from reaching the brain.
  • Acupuncture: This is a great way of stimulating the CNS while dulling the pain and relaxing tight muscles.
  • Demonstration: Teaching and demonstrating proper movement patterns to the patient help them to recuperate on their own.
  • Functional testing: This involves examining the patient with regards to their physical movements to better assess his/her condition.

Who needs physiotherapy?

Persons suffering from following conditions can approach for physiotherapy:

  • If injured while playing
  • If suffering with chronic pain from long time
  • During and after pregnancy
  • During and after surgery
  • To prevent from chest complications
  • To prevent from thrombosis
  • To prevent from pressure sores
  • To prevent muscle wasting and joint mobility

What are the conditions treated with physiotherapy?

  • Cardio-pulmonary conditions such as COPD, myocardial infarction and cystic fibrosis
  • Hand therapy in conditions such as trigger finger and Carpal tunnel syndrome - CTS
  • Tears in the rotator cuff, lower or upper back pain and TMJ
  • Injuries to the spinal cord, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, trauma to the brain and vestibular dysfunction
  • Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disorders in children
  • Tennis elbow and other injuries related to sports
  • Urinary incontinence

How long does a physiotherapy session last?

The sessions of the physiotherapy last for about 30 minutes to one hour depending upon the complexity of the disease. Some patients tend to have longer hours and they are given clinical support. Lasting up of physiotherapy depends upon the severity or complexity of the disease and how much time does the body part require to be healed. 6-8 weeks is the typical time taken by the soft tissues to get healed.

Does physiotherapy really work?

Physiotherapy works in most of the cases and it depends upon the individual and the kind of injury or problem the person is having and it can be cured by doing physiotherapy or not. Appropriate exercise must be done to heal the injury in order to get rid of it. To let physiotherapy really work the person must attend all the physiotherapy sessions until you reach the goal. If in case the treatment doesn’t work then the condition is re-evaluated and treatment is done according to that.

What are the side effects of physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy side effects:

  • Pain: It may happen that your pain increases while you recuperate and recover. To address such pain, oral pain medicines might be administered prior to a session of physical therapy. Heat/cold therapy or other topical methods can work as well.
  • Swelling: This is very common; it's because of the fact that the tissues, muscles and ligaments are stretched in order to strengthen them. This can result in swelling and further pain because of it.

How long does physio take to work?

There is no accurate answer to this question as the time of the therapy is not fixed. The rate of healing is different for different individuals. The duration of the therapy depends upon prolonged illness, variation in the pain, motivation, perception, and the healing rate of the individual.

How much does physiotherapy cost in India?

The cost of physiotherapy in India ranges from Rs.250- Rs.1500 per session.

How long physiotherapy results last?

There is no fool-proof guarantee of results, physiotherapy is very important for holistic recovery of the patient post-injury or disability of any kind. If stuck to the entire treatment course and done with diligence, physiotherapy usually helps the patient in ways more than one. To put it simply, the effects of physiotherapy are permanent, given the patient is clear about his/her personal goals and expectations and lets the physiotherapist know about the same as well.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Physiotherapy alternatives:

  • The intake of carbs should be kept in check as increased consumption of carbs results in inflammation because of spiked blood sugar levels.
  • Oils that are rich in LDL should be avoided. Also, foods rich in trans-fats and saturated fats should be cut out from the diet.
  • Eat more of plant-based foods and items rich in anti-inflammatory properties such as green tea, onion, garlic, lemon, mustard, horseradish, parsley, celery, etc.
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
Physical Therapy (PT)- Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. merckmanuals.com 2017 [Cited 22 August 2019]. Available from:https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/fundamentals/rehabilitation/physical-therapy-pt




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