The figure of a physiotherapist tends to be associated with massage and, in general, to the world of sports, however, there is a wide range of techniques and areas where they can intervene and it is unknown by a large part of the population. Next, we will explain the different roles of the physiotherapist as a healthcare professional and how he can help us.
What abilities does a physiotherapist have?
The physical therapy is a discipline of university degree where health professionals are formed with anatomical knowledge and human physiology, physical therapist . They are specialized in the treatment of conditions through different manual therapies, therapeutic exercise and physical agents such as heat, cold, light, water, electricity, etc. All together the objective of maintaining and restoring the functional capacities of patients and improving their quality of life.
A physiotherapistis able to make a diagnosis in physiotherapy with the execution of manual tests at the muscular, neural or articular level and provide an optimal treatment for the patient. However, they also work with other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, occupational therapists or psychologists, being part of an interdisciplinary team.
Where can we find a physiotherapist and what are their competencies?
The physiotherapists are responsible for injury prevention, education of patients in health care and rehabilitation of acute or chronic conditions. The day to day is to receive patients derived from GPs or specialists, such as traumatologists, rheumatologists or neurologists.
They work both privately and publicly, in a wide range of places such as clinics, outpatients, hospitals, nursing homes, gyms, sports clubs, etc …
The main objectives of a physiotherapist are: prevent, cure and relieve musculoskeletal problems physically and trying to minimize and repair the damage to the maximum.
Physiotherapy intervenes in three levels:
- Prevention, education and habilitation.
- Process healing.
- Treatment of pathology or chronic processes.
It is common to refer or go to the physiotherapy service on their own when a musculoskeletal pathology or condition is suffered. It is a service very demanded by patients with traumatological or rheumatological problems such as arthritic processes, low back pain, cervicalgia, fractures, sprains, fibrillar ruptures among others.
However, as mentioned above, the intervention in physiotherapy has been gradually opening to other specialties, so today, a physiotherapist must have basic skills in:
- Traumatology and Rheumatology: osteoarthritis, fractures, sprains, capsulitis, scoliosis , etc.
- Pediatrics: sensory-motor development problems secondary to congenital diseases, bronchiolitis, cystic fibrosis, etc.
- Urogynecology: dysfunctions of the urinary and reproductive system, pelvic floor, pre and postpartum, etc.
- Sport: sports injuries and sports rehabilitation.
- Geriatrics: maintain and promote the autonomy of the elderly through exercise and fall prevention.
- Neurology: stroke, spinal cord affected, aphasia, etc.
- Cardiorespiratory rehabilitation: COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ), pulmonary emphysema, respiratory deficiencies secondary to degenerative diseases, cardiovascular problems, obesity, etc.
- Research: conduct studies based on scientific evidence where the methodology of physiotherapy techniques or treatments for different conditions is tested.
What is the procedure when I am referred to the physiotherapist?
When the patient arrives at the physiotherapist’s office, referred by a doctor, or on their own, the first day corresponds to the patient’s first visit. This is the first contact between patient and specialist, in which the condition is evaluated and the best treatment is scheduled. During the initial interview, the reports and the diagnostic tests performed, background or pathologies of interest are discussed, activities of daily living (AVD), habits, hobbies, etc. are analyzed.
Subsequently, tests are performed to assess the mobility, muscular strength and flexibility of the affected limb, in addition to specific discriminatory manual tests to locate or confirm the lesion.
Once the assessment is completed, a treatment that includes manual techniques (masotherapy, trigger point inhibition, dry puncture, stretching, joint manipulations, etc.), electrotherapy, which is based on the application of anti-allergic currents or magnetotherapy to reduce inflammation and a pattern of therapeutic exercises, with the aim of gradually recovering the total functionality.
The importance of a good diagnosis in physiotherapy is paramount, since it will also help us determine if it is a patient that we can treat or if, on the contrary, we should refer you to the specialist doctor.
What you should know…
- A physiotherapist is able to make a proper diagnosis in physiotherapy by manual tests at a muscular, neural or articular level and provide an optimal treatment for the patient.
- The main objectives of physiotherapists are: to prevent, cure and relieve musculoskeletal problems in a physical way and trying to minimize and repair damage to the maximum.
- It is a service very demanded by patients with traumatological or rheumatological problems such as arthritic processes, low back pain, cervicalgia, fractures, sprains, fibrillar ruptures among others.