Sunday Oct 2, 2022
Sunday Oct 2, 2022

PhysioTalk with Dr Amir Neupane: What are physiotherapists?

Dr. Amir Neupane begins his fortnightly column explaining the common muscle problems that the Nepalese public face

2022 Feb 19, 16:27,

Physiotherapists are skilled hands-on management professionals of medical problems whereas physiotherapy is a science and evidence based care, clinically and scientifically proven techniques to help heal conditions affecting our body. Physiotherapists are first -line health professionals, skilled in injury prevention and patient management. In the context of Nepal, physiotherapists are University graduates who are registered in the health professional council. To elaborate, physiotherapists are professionals in health sciences, skilled in clinical reasoning, life long learners committed to evidence based decision making.

  • What do they do
  1. Assess, manage and treat a broad range of medical conditions from simple sprained ankles to complex strokes cases.
  2. Relieve physical pain and help healing injuries, increasing mobility.
  3.  Build strength, improve balance, and enhance cardiovascular performance.
  4. Help you to help yourself by prescribing therapeutic exercises,
  5.  Teach patients to better manage their own health.

  • What areas do physiotherapy cover?
  1. Musculoskeletal Disorder and Sports.(MSK & sports): MSK & Sports physiotherapist diagnose, manage and treat disorders and injuries of musculoskeletal system and sports related injuries. They also help patients recover from orthopedic surgeries. They usually treat post-operative cases, sports injuries, arthritis, amputations and many more conditions. Those who have suffered injury or disease affecting the muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons of the body may benefit from assessment by a physiotherapist specializes in MSK & Sports.
    MSK & Sports physiotherapists can prescribe the right exercises for your specific condition affecting your bones, muscles or joints.
  2. Neurological & Psychosomatic Disorders: Neurological physiotherapists work with the individual who have neurological disorder or disease. These include Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, Brain injury, Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and stroke. Common problems of patients with neurological disorders include paralysis, vision impairment, poor balance, difficulty walking and loss of independence. Therapists work with patients to improve these areas of dysfunction.
  3.  Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Disorders: Cardiovascular & pulmonary physiotherapists treat a wide variety of patients with cardiopulmonary disorders as well as those who have had cardiac or pulmonary surgeries. Primary goals of this specialty include increasing patient endurance and functional independence. If you have had a heart attack, you may work with a cardio-pulmonary physiotherapy specialist in your cardiac rehab program.
  4. Pediatric: Pediatric physiotherapist assists in early detection of health problems as well as the diagnosis, treatment, and management of infants, children and adolescents with a variety of injuries, disorders and disease that affect the muscle, bones and joints. Treatment focus on improving gross and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, strength endurance as well as cognitive and sensory processing and integration. Children with developmental delays, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and torticollis are a few of the patients treated by pediatric physiotherapists.

Other specialties include, Women’s health & OBG, Geriatrics physiotherapy, Community rehabilitations and many more.

  • When do you need a physiotherapist?
  1. Are you suffering from acute, chronic or occasional pain brought by injury or illness?
  2.  Is your movement restricted?
  3.  Are you having trouble doing everyday tasks and activities due to illness or injury?
  4. Has your quality of life and functional independence been negatively affected by illness or injury?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you would likely benefit from a consultation with a physiotherapist.

  • What to expect from the first Visit?
  1.   Assessment of your health history, strength, joint range of motion, reflexes.
  2.   Examination of x-rays, lab test
  3.   Identification of the problem area
  4.   Specific goals for your treatment
  5.   Demonstration of therapeutic exercises
  6.   Action steps you can take after your appointment to feel better as quickly as possible.
  • What will the treatment involve?
  1.   Strengthening and therapeutic exercises
  2.   Balance retraining and movement coordination
  3.   Hands on manual therapy to reduce pain and stiffness
  4.   Electrical modalities such as electrical nerve stimulation, ultrasound.
  5.   Therapeutic tools to reduce pain.

  • How do you know if physiotherapy is working for you?
  1.   Results include the ability to return to work, sports and normal activities of daily living.
  2.   Increased strength and improved endurance
  3.   More time spent pain-free and decreased pain intensity
  4.   Improvement in mood and quality of life.

“Physiotherapists assess, plan and implement rehabilitative programs that improve or restore human motor functions, maximize movement ability, relieve pain syndromes, and treat or prevent physical challenges associated with injuries, diseases and other impairments. They apply a broad range of physical therapies and techniques such as movement, ultrasound, heating, laser and other techniques. They may develop and implement programs for screening and prevention of common physical ailments and disorders” (WHO)


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