What is physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy (also known as Physical Therapy or “Physio”) is a client-focused, scientific evidence based practice used to diagnose and treat injury and disease. The goal is to improve a client’s function, mobility, strength and promote healthy living.
Find out more on the Ontario Physiotherapy Association website: http://www.opa.on.ca/about_phys.shtml
What is a Physiotherapist?
A Physiotherapist, or” Physio”, is a primary health care professional (you don’t need a doctor’s referral to see one), with a university degree, and is a registered physiotherapist with a College of Physiotherapists. They combine an in-depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology, and physical movement with their highly skilled hands on assessment and treatment techniques to assist a client in reducing pain, improving function, increasing strength and conditioning, and helping them to return activity.
Who would benefit from Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can help people of all ages from children to seniors, for a large range of conditions and ailments. Weather you have a sports injury, are recovering from surgery, or you have an injury due to something in your daily life, it is important to have it assessed and treated properly. After an injury pain will typically subside gradually, but it is often because we have learned to adapt our motion to avoid the pain, without being aware of it. This adapted movement can persist and often leads to further dysfunction, decreased mobility, and chronic pain which can be harder and take longer to treat in the future. Once the pain is gone it is essential to regain muscle activation, maximum mobility and strength to avoid future injury pain.
Some conditions that are typically treated by physiotherapy are:
– Orthopaedic /musculo-skeletal injuries (these include any injury to a muscle, tendon, ligament or joint):
– neck pain, headaches, back pain, muscle spasms, herniated discs, sprains, strains, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, temporomandibular joint (TMJ), ACL and MCL tears, iliotibial band friction syndrome, patello-femoral syndrome, Achilles tendonitis, etc. (the list is much more extensive).
-Post operative rehabilitation-After surgery of any kind, post surgical rehabilitation is essential. Our bodies will heal, but it takes work to get it back to (or close to, depending on the extent of the surgery) pre-surgical levels of functioning. If the body is not properly treated, it can lead to limited range of motion, limited strength, poor functionality, and compensatory movement patterns. This can lead to chronic pain and further injury.
Physiotherapy can guide you through your recovery. In the early stages it can help alleviate post surgical pain and swelling. Early mobilization and muscle activation exercises, while following your surgeon’s orders, will help to speed your recovery. The longer a joint is stiff or a muscle inactive, the longer and harder it is to regain function. In the later stages it can help to regain range of motion, stability, strength and conditioning.
-Pain management-– Treatment and control of acute and chronic pain.
-Prehabilitation, Preactivity Screening, Strength and Conditioning-– Maintaining strength/conditioning and range of motion will help to avoid injuries in the future. Often people have unknown muscle imbalances which can lead to injury with increased activity. Having these assessed and treated can prevent more serious or chronic injuries that are harder and more costly to treat. We bring our car in for regular maintenance to avoid major break-down, it only makes sense to do the same for our bodies.
Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS)
Is a technique used to treat neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by an irritation of a nerve, often by a tight muscle. The irritation of the nerve causes hypersensitivity and shortening of any of the muscles that the nerve innervates which leads to further mechanical pain from the pull of the muscle. This can be referred to as myofascial pain syndrome and is often the cause of chronic pain. Because these conditions are present in the absence of any obvious signs of injury or inflammation there is often no findings on medical imaging such as MRI, CT, or X-Ray.
The IMS technique inserts needles (similar to acupuncture) into tight/tender muscles in the periphery or near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and hypersensitive. This causes a spasm or cramping of the muscle. It stimulates the stretch receptor in the muscle causing a reflex relaxation or muscle lengthening of the tight muscle. This release decompresses the nerve and the constant pull of the shortened muscle. The small trauma of the needle draws blood to the area to promote healing. It also creates an electrical potential in the muscle that stimulates the nerve to function normally again.
Gunn IMS http://ubcgunnims.com/
Is the use of highly skilled hands on techniques used to mobilize and manipulate joints and massage muscles to reduce pain and improve range of motion and function.
Is the use of different sources of energy to treat injuries.
– Muscle stimulators- an electrical current is used to stimulate an inactive or weak muscle.
-Interferential Current and TENS- used to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tone.
– Ultrasound- used to promote tissue healing.
Heat-Is used to reduce pain and reduce muscle tone.
Ice-Is used to reduce pain and control swelling.
Therapeutic Exercises– Specific prescribed exercises are customized for each client to reactivate and strengthen inhibited and weakened muscles to regain muscle balance and overall strength and conditioning.
Taping – Different types of tape and taping techniques are used to support, stabilize, and give proprioceptive feedback.
Acupuncture– involves inserting thin needles into the body at specific points to provide pain relief and muscle relaxation.
What to expect from a session
You will have a one on one session with the physiotherapist, where you will be assessed for movement, function, alignment, biomechanics, strength and specific injury. After your assessment the therapist will educate you on your diagnosis, prognosis, and discuss what treatment options are available. All treatments will be performed and monitored by your physiotherapist. Your therapist will give you exercises to perform on your own and educate you on activities you should and shouldn’t do.