Physiotherapists (also known as physical therapists) are movement specialists who aim to improve and restore function in persons from pre-injury or disease to their safe return to everyday, physical activities. This simply means that you do not have to be injured to seek physical therapy.
Before you are injured, the therapist will do an assessment to determine your predisposition to injury as well as strengthen and condition muscles to guarantee maximum function, prevent injury and some disease processes.
When someone happens to meet with an accident or injury, a physiotherapist helps the individual to recover, improve and maintain his/her physical abilities by introducing an individualized rehabilitation program based on the physical assessment.
Physiotherapists work in various medical settings to include a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, medical centers and sports medicine clinics.
Specialist Treatments Offered by Physiotherapists
Physiotherapists are commonly known to offer generalized treatment in Orthopaedics, and sports clinics. However with the constant discovery of new evidence influencing the development of unconventional treatment modalities, the field of physical therapy has become diverse. Let’s explore some unconventional services now offered by physiotherapists at the Rehabilitation Institute of the Caribbean.
Aquatic Therapy offers treatment for patients whose muscles have been weakened due to a disability or injury. Generally, therapy sessions are held in a pool where the natural buoyancy of water reduces the pain that can be associated with physical exercise. This also assists patients with movement so that they are more productive in therapy sessions.
Dry Needling is a technique used by physiotherapists to treat myofascial pain. This treatment method involves inserting a “dry” needle, meaning one that has not been saturated with medication, into areas in the muscle. The goal of dry needling is to relieve pain and improve range of motion by releasing trigger points or making them inactive. It is important to note that dry needling is a single technique incorporated in a larger treatment program. It is not a stand-alone, treatment option.
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is designed to help persons with heart dysfunction, lung and heart diseases such as Asthma, Pneumonia, heart attack and post cardiac surgery. Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation requires a team approach which should include a medical doctor, rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists.
A less known branch of neurological rehabilitation, coordinated by a Neurophysiotherapist, is a super-specialty called Vestibular Rehabilitation which includes rehabilitation of dizziness and balance disorders. This includes persons suffering from a spinning sensation called vertigo; or dizziness from either a brain or inner ear problem – e.g. after a head injury, after inner ear infections (eg labyrithitis), dizziness following viral illnesses such as ‘Chick V’; other ear conditions such as Menier’s disease (fluid imbalance in the ear) and a common condition called BPPV (Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo) where dizziness is brought on by positional changes. Generally, the aim of Vestibular Rehabilitation is either to restore function or recommend strategies that teach persons how to adapt to their symptoms.