Have you been affected by injury, illness, or disability? Have you lost movement or function? Chances are you need a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapy is great for helping to improve your mobility while also helping to reduce the risk of injury or illness in the future.
It is a popular profession with the number of physiotherapists in Spain almost doubling in the space of a decade from 26,343 practitioners in 2006 to 48,173 in 2016. This is great for us as it means we have a greater selection to pick from to find the right therapist for us.
What is Physiotherapy and What Is It Used For?
Physiotherapy is a treatment that aims to improve the way your joints and muscles work. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists says that physiotherapy ‘encompasses a range of interventions, services and advice aimed at maintaining, restoring and improving people’s function and movement and thereby maximising the quality of their lives’.
According to the National Health Service it ‘can be helpful for people of all ages with a wide range of health conditions’.
The NHS highlights that physiotherapy can be used to treat your bones, joints and soft tissue, issues like back pain, neck pain, and various sports injuries.
It can treat your brain or nervous system and the movement problems associated with strokes, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
It can also be used for heart and circulation problems or issues with your lungs and breathing like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.
The approach with physiotherapy is a more holistic approach that directly involves the patient in their own care.
Can Anyone Be A Physiotherapist And What Do They Do?
Only a specialised and highly trained person can become a regulated physiotherapy practitioner. It takes years of study and practice to master the craft of physiotherapy.
As the physiotherapist takes a holistic approach to your care and treatment it means they think about all of you. Your body and mind. Not just the affected area that requires specific treatment.
This usually involves education and advice. The physiotherapist will give you guidance on the things that may hinder or aggravate your problems or even give preventative advice dealing with posture or correct lifting techniques for example.
Another part of your treatment may involve movement. You may be given physical activity advice and tailored exercises to help treat your required area of the body and help improve your health and mobility.
Manual therapy is another weapon in the physiotherapist’s arsenal. Here the physiotherapist will get hands on to help improve movement or release pain and stiffness. It’s like a massage only infinitely better and done by a medical professional.
Other techniques or methods may be applied. Hydrotherapy is one of those. With it movements are carried out in water thus helping to reduce any unnecessary strain on your muscles and joints.
A physiotherapist may also carry out home rehabilitation and gym sessions as part of their treatment. When talking to a physiotherapist, discussions on what treatments are available and which will benefit you best will certainly take place.
Choosing The Right Physiotherapist
There are issues where simple physiotherapy might not be quite enough for whatever you’re going through. Surgery is to be avoided if possible but given modern medical advances, some exceptional options exist today that can help people retain mobility and physical ability into advanced years. Also, sometimes injuries cannot be managed except through surgery through a qualified orthopedic specialist. So keep in mind, there’s a point at which physiotherapy may need to accompany deeper medical action. That said, there’s plenty of benefit going this route. The right sort of physiotherapist can help you avoid the need for surgery, but they’ll direct you to orthopedic solutions if that’s the right thing to do.
Finding and choosing the right physiotherapist can be a daunting task. You want someone who knows what they are doing. Someone who has years of experience working at the highest levels. Someone with experience in orthopaedics, post-operative rehabilitation, elderly care, neurological rehabilitation and Paediatrics.
And someone who is preferably bilingual to help any English speakers who have yet to master the Spanish language.
It’s hard to believe that all that skill and expertise can be found in one person. But there you go!