The Benefits of Physiotherapy for Patients: what is the correct way to treat a patient?

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The Benefits of Physiotherapy for Patients: what is the correct way to treat a patient?

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Guest article provided by: James Turgis of

Patients often ask, how can they know if a physiotherapist is good and what should be the best course of treatment for a successful rehabilitation. In this article we will talk about what is physiotherapy and what should be the ideal course of treatment to make sure a patient recovers properly and stay healthy on the long run. 

What is physiotherapy?

A Physiotherapist treats injury, illness or disability using physical methods such as massage, stretching, strengthening, manual therapy, exercises and heat or ice treatment in order to restore the range of movement and function of the joints or part of your body that has been injured. For some conditions, the physio will also team up with an Osteopath if the patient has strong tensions that could slow down the recovery.

What should be the best physio treatment for a successful recovery?

After a surgery or an injury, a physiotherapist should do the following:

Assess the cause of your injury, checking and reporting the lack or normality of your range of movement, the lack of normality of your muscular strength, the pain that you have, the appearance of your injury or scar (swollen or not, bruised or not).

Create a treatment plan, following the result of the assessment. The physio will create and tailor a rehabilitation program in regard of the goal you want to achieve (going back to sport, reducing the pain…). 

If your injury is painful, the physio will reduce and manage the pain using massage, cryotherapy or heat therapy.

If the injury is swollen, the physiotherapist will use lymphatic drainage technique to drain the oedema.

Once the injury is less acute, the physio will mobilise your joint to increase its mobility. They will start with passive mobilisation and increase your range of movement until your muscles are strong enough to do active mobilisation. 

In parallel the physio will give you exercises to increase your muscle strength and will increase the intensity of the muscle exercises until they are strong enough to protect your joint or to carry your weight without risk. 

Once both your strength and range of movement are back to normal, the physiotherapist will finalise his treatment by doing some proprioception work. 

Proprioception is a technique which retrain the receptor in your joint and muscles, which are necessary for a fast response in case of a sudden malposition of your joint which can lead to an injury. With a good proprioception rehabilitation, you will avoid any relapse of your injury.

The above line of treatment is what should be done by a good physiotherapist who wants their patient to have pain relief but also to recover on the long term. If you only treat the pain and don’t work on reinforcement or proprioception, there is a 63% chance that the injury relapses. 

It is important that patients are aware of this because many of them stop working out as soon as the pain is gone.

The above is a general treatment plan that works for many pathologies, whether it is for adults, babies or children. Of course, for some more specific pathologies like incontinence or treatments such as pelvic floor rehabilitation for postnatal women, the specialised physio will also use different technique based on breathing, muscle toning and relaxation.

The benefit of physiotherapy

Apart from fixing an acute issue, the use of physiotherapy is also very beneficial for patients who have chronic conditions as it will allow them to feel more confident in moving and exercising again, to reduce the use of medication or painkiller and to reduce their everyday pain. 

A good physiotherapist can help with most of the physical conditions you may have, whether it is a back pain, neurological condition, knee pain… But also at any stage of life: babies, pregnancy, postnatal, elderly.

What are the different types of physiotherapy?

There are many subcategories in physiotherapy, but the main specialities of physiotherapy are:

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy: rehabilitation of bones, joints and muscles 

Sports physiotherapy: rehabilitation of sports injuries

Hand therapy: rehabilitation of hands injuries

Women’s health or pelvic health physiotherapy: rehabilitation of pregnancy and postnatal conditions

Paediatric physiotherapy: rehabilitation of babies and children’s conditions

Fall prevention and strengthening physiotherapy for elderly

Vestibular physiotherapy: rehabilitation of dizziness and loss of balance.

Article by James Turgis

Physiotherapist, Osteopath and Director of Excellence Physiotherapy

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