What exactly is Physiotherapy?
When something in your car goes mechanically wonky you take it to a mechanic but who would you go to if your knees start hurting, you get persistent back pain or you’re looking to recover the ability to walk and do stuff normally after getting into an accident or recovering from surgery? That’s where a physiotherapist comes into the picture.
Also known in other countries as a physical therapist, physiotherapists are an accredited and professionally trained healthcare professional who acts as a ‘mechanic’ of sorts to address the movement and physical functionality of the human body and to help get it back in working order. Technically speaking, a physiotherapist offers a complete regimen of treatment that covers physical rehabilitative therapy, clinical advice on lifestyle changes and more, often in cooperation with other medical practitioners from different fields, with an eye to maintaining and restoring both movement and functional ability in a patient due to factors caused by ageing, pain, diseases, ill health and other lifestyle problems. In a nutshell, if your quality of life is affected by persistent pain or discomfort to your joints, bones and muscles to the point that it affects your ability to function in daily life, a physiotherapist is the specialist you call in to assess and treat the problem.
What does a physiotherapist do? Physiotherapy treatment isn’t a case of simply popping a few pills or a quick surgical procedure. It’s quite a bit more than that as the problem at hand often isn’t a clear cut one: the pain or discomfort a patient may be suffering may not necessarily be from an immediately obvious cause and come from multiple underlying factors. An example is if you suffer from persistent back pain; you may not necessarily have sprained your back but the way you’re sitting over the years may have contributed to the problem. The human body is a highly complex organic machine with a marvellously intricate yet effective system of bones, joints and muscles working together in perfect harmony to allow us to do the things we take for granted - walk, run, hold objects and more. It isn’t as easy as it looks - scientists have tried to get robots to do it for years and they’re still nowhere near what a person can intuitively do. A physiotherapist undertakes years of training and has an intimate knowledge of how the various musculo-skeletal systems work together in the human body and if something is wrong, how to address them.
Physiotherapists treat people of all ages and needs. In their course of practice, physiotherapists often help to treat the physically infirm, help the elderly recover their mobility, rehabilitate those recovering from surgery and those with neurological disorders.
In the initial consultation, a physiotherapist sits down and understands more about the needs, intended outcomes and lifestyle of the patient and, of course, what pain or discomfort they have. From there, a physiotherapist prescribes a course of exercise, non-invasive physical therapy and lifestyle changes to effect a positive change on the patient and helps to monitor these changes over time with the patient and their loved ones to ensure optimum outcomes or to help lessen the recovery time.
Where can you find a physiotherapist in Malaysia?
In Malaysia, physiotherapists are often found attached as part of a team in hospitals or as a specialist in national sports teams to ensure athletes remain in top condition though many are also found in private practice as well.
The expert advice of a physiotherapist isn’t just for when you suffer from an injury or reserved for an Olympic athlete though. Even a sedate urbanite performing a desk job can benefit from a visit to a physiotherapist who can advise proactive ergonomic and lifestyle changes that will help keep them limber and pain-free for years to come.
Like many fields of medicine, the realm of physiotherapy also has a number of sub-specialties that are generally divided into a few areas of practice -
Sports & Musculoskeletal - This covers sports and other injuries to the joints, muscles and skeleton as well as rehabilitation after surgery to said parts such as knee/hip replacement, spinal surgery, repair of the rotator cuff in addition to addressing pain to the neck and back.
Neurological - This covers rehabilitation from brain injuries, stroke, Parkinsonism disorders, multiple sclerosis (MS) and others.
Geriatric - Encompasses unique conditions and scenarios related to the elderly including recovering from falls, helping to improve balance and to improve mobility. Cardiopulmonary and Chronic Diseases Rehabilitation - Patients who are recovering from major surgery such as open heart surgeries and stenting, warded in Intensive Care Units (ICU) or general wards or are suffering from chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis and hypertension have a unique set of challenges that a properly trained physiotherapist can assist in overcoming.
Vestibular rehabilitation - This area of specialisation treats patients who encounter vertigo and dizziness.
Paediatric - Rehabilitation for young patients due to developmental delays and post-injuries or accidents with the aim to improve mobility.
Women’s Health & Continence - Rehabilitation for ladies who have just given birth, anyone with continence issues and scenarios post-surgery which have resulted in the swelling of body parts.
Physiotherapy practitioners often specialise in one or more more of these areas though not many have most of these specialties hosted under one roof. Based in Desa Sri Hartamas, Malaysia, Pau Physiotherapy is a practice that hosts a team of experienced senior physiotherapists who have internationally recognised qualifications with clinical experience from the UK, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia. Drop by for a visit and find out more about how Pau Physiotherapy can assist in improving the quality of life for you and your loved ones today.