Physiotherapy has advanced incredibly from the early 19th Century, when manipulation and massage were considered to be outside the scope of medical science, which, at the time, focused on surgical procedures and drug treatment.
In those days, physiotherapy involved electrical stimulation, heat and water-based applications to help restore function and movement. Some people considered the practice to be an exploitation of the gullible and desperately ill. It was therefore frowned upon. It was only after World War II that significant advances were made, but it still took decades for the profession to be recognized as a specialized field of medicine.
Today, numerous benefits are available through the widened scope of physiotherapy. It addresses neurological, orthopaedic, cardiac and cardiopulmonary issues among adults, children and seniors. Some disorders treated include joint problems, arthritis, sports injuries, neck and back pain, amputation and post-operative conditions.
Neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis, strokes, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and cerebral palsy make up a large percentage of a physiotherapist’s case load. Stroke patients may present with paralysis or weakness on one side of the body, or abnormal muscle tone.
For correcting these issues, or training a patient how to compensate for deficits, physiotherapy is an invaluable tool. Interventions concentrate on re-educating muscles, improving and restoring gait, and teaching patients how to use mobility aids.