~ What Happens After Physiotherapy?

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Physiotherapy can be a long, hard road.  It takes willpower and endurance to keep at it.  The mere act of keeping appointments can be grueling at times.  One may feel like celebrating when it is all over; but what comes after physiotherapy? 

The physiotherapist will leave you with words of advice to follow after your physiology is over.  One important thing to keep in mind is that any exercises you are doing should be remembered for relapses. 

For example, if you have a problem with a vertebra in your neck, physical therapy can often help.  After physiotherapy, though, the neck might start getting stiff and painful again.  Remembering and doing the physical therapy exercises may stop the condition from getting any worse, and may in fact alleviate it completely. 

You will also be instructed on the proper use of heat packs and ice packs.  It will be a refresher course for you, but you will be on your own, so you need to pay attention.  You will be told to go to the doctor at the first sign of relapse after physiotherapy. 

Prevention will be an important concern after physiotherapy.  The last thing you need is to have to go through the process again.  You can take certain steps to avoid physical injuries that would require you to go back. 

Aerobic exercise is very beneficial both during and after physiotherapy.  It strengthens the muscles, increases oxygen to the muscles, and helps you lose weight.  Aerobic exercises you can do include walking, running, swimming, or bicycling.  Any exercise that gets you breathing heavily and your heart rate up will do. 

In injuries like low back pain, weight loss can be a factor.  It can mean less stress on your bones and muscles.  Therefore, diet can play an important role in prevention after physiotherapy.  It does not have to be an elaborate diet; just a simple diet that limits foods, especially the carbohydrates and fats. 

Other preventative features of life after physiotherapy involve the workplace.  One needs to learn the proper movements to get the job done.  If it seems that it is impossible, it is a legal right to call for an ergonomics study.  Another thing to consider is to make sure you use all the ergonomic equipment that is already available in your office or workplace.  There may be ergonomic keyboards in a storage room, if you would only ask. 

One also needs to learn one's limitations.  No more trying to lift a two-hundred pound object by yourself.  After physiotherapy one knows what can happen when one does not take care of one's body properly.  It only makes sense to stay away from anything that can harm you in the way you were hurt before. 

Life after physiotherapy may be a more cautious affair than is was before.  One may have to think before acting.  No matter what one does, it is possible that a return to physiotherapy will take place.  The best thing to do is to do your best to make all the right moves after physiotherapy. 
The Alexander Technique of Physiotherapy

The Alexander Technique was invented by a man named F.M. Alexander.  He lived from 1869-1955.  He was an actor, touring Tasmania and Australia with a Shakespearean troupe.  He began to have problems with his voice, and the rest is history. 

When Alexander's throat became extremely hoarse, he made the rounds of all the doctors where he was at any given time.  None of them could help him.  They could not find any physical reason for the problem.  The Alexander Technique came about because the man would not take no for an answer. 

Since there was no one to come to his aid, Alexander began watching his every move.  He spent much time looking into mirrors, trying to determine what he might be doing wrong.  Over a period of nine years, he came up with a solution: the Alexander Technique. 

The system Alexander designed did the trick of restoring his voice.  This was nothing short of a miracle for him.  His voice was of utmost importance to him as an actor.  He did not name the system the Alexander Technique, though.  He named it primary control. 

The hypothesis of the Alexander Technique is that the head, neck, and torso are the primary factors in determining function, movement, and posture.  In other words, these body parts control these features of the human anatomy. 

Through his observations, he learned that by compressing these body parts, the body did not work in accordance with its design.  In his case, this led to poor posture, which resulted in the hoarseness of his voice.  For others, he saw that there were other problems that the Alexander Technique, or primary control, could help. 

Primary control, as Alexander used it was the correct positioning of the head, neck, and torso so that the body worked normally.  Now, the Alexander Technique is being used in clinics around the country.  It is taught to people who are young and people who are old.  It is taught to anyone comes to be taught. 

Alexander Technique practitioners usually work with people on an individual basis.  Groups can sometimes be taught the Alexander Technique, but this is not standard practice.  The key is for the practitioner to employ physiotherapy techniques and education to help the person to use their body better and function better overall. 

The idea of the Alexander Technique is to provide a physiotherapy that will allow muscles to become relaxed.  This is said to give people back the posture they should have had all along.  The body is worked with the human form as a whole, and so doing the Alexander Technique is said to have effects for all parts of the body. 

The Alexander Technique is a highly specialized area of physiotherapy.  This technique addresses issues that are related to posture only, albeit there are many problems that are.  It is generally not used for people with major disabilities or illnesses.  Other forms of physiotherapy are better for those patients.  However, for people with minor problems, the Alexander Technique has been known to work wonders. 
The Benefits of Physiotherapy for Amputee Rehabilitation

Losing a limb is a devastating blow for anyone.  It requires a team of professionals to make the adjustment to life without the limb.  A physician, a prosthetist, nurses, and a psychologist are all needed.  Add to that list a physiotherapy service, which will help with amputee rehabilitation. 

The benefits of physiotherapy for amputee rehabilitation are numerous.  For one, amputees will need help in overcoming phantom pains.  These are pains where the limb used to be.  The sensation really is in the nerve that would lead to that limb if it were still there.  Physiotherapy can use its own techniques to treat this pain. 

Most amputees will be getting a prosthetic limb.  Some feel that it should be enough to learn how to put it on.  It is not an automatic thing to get used to a prosthetic limb.  Many patients have them for years without ever having normal functioning with them.  This is one reason amputee rehabilitation is so important. 

Physiotherapy can benefit amputee rehabilitation by gradually getting the patient accustomed to using a prosthetic limb.  The physiotherapy plan for this will be based upon the needs and abilities of the patient. 

The patient will probably need help during amputee rehabilitation to learn balance all over again.  This is especially true is the affected limb is a foot or leg.  However, having an arm that is of a different weight than the other may be unbalancing as well.  Physiotherapy can help with these problems too. 

One thing people going through amputee rehabilitation need to realize is that gait is a good deal of the battle.  If one walks correctly, people will not even be able to detect one's limp, even with a prosthetic leg.  This skill can be learned from physiotherapists. 

If a patient has waited a long while before seeking physiotherapy after surgery, a problem may arise.  Certain muscles may become overdeveloped and others weakened.  This happens because, without proper amputee rehabilitation, the patient relies on one set of muscles to the exclusion of others.  A proper plan of physiotherapy can address this issue. 

People who have lost a limb will need an individualized exercise program.  Physiotherapy can provide such a program during amputee rehabilitation.  This will take into account the different movements needed by amputees to perform normal exercises. 

Manual therapies, such as massage, are a part of amputee rehabilitation with physiotherapy.  This can relieve much pain and tension in the muscles that are overworked in getting used to their new situation.  Other treatments can be used.  Some of them are heat, acupuncture, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. 

There is a need for physiotherapy in amputee rehabilitation that no other discipline can fill.  It is a basic kind of help that anyone who has lost a limb can use.  Some amputees decline treatment because they do not think it is necessary.  Others feel overwhelmed by their loss.  If there is a way to convince amputees to get physiotherapy to help them with their rehabilitation, they will find recovery a much smoother path.  
Some Physiotherapy Asthma Management Techniques May Be Questionable
Physiotherapy Asthma management is a concern for about 15 million people in America.  There are many different medications and other treatments used successfully for asthma management.  However, some methods used are not quite proven to work. 

Some physiotherapy clinics claim that massage can be used for asthma management.  They state that it works to relieve the symptoms of wheezing and breathlessness.  They use massage on patients young and old.  However, there is no substantial proof that massage does any more good for asthma management than to relieve stress. 

One alternative physiotherapy method that has been used for asthma management is acupuncture.  There is some indication that this technique can actually have some benefit in relieving symptoms of asthma. 

Acupuncture does seem to help the immune system fight off illnesses.  This is important in helping asthma management.  Illnesses such as colds or flu will exacerbate the asthma condition.  If acupuncture can reduce this, it is a great help.  Yet, acupuncture is still only recommended to be used along with other treatments.  It is not to be used alone. 

Some acupuncturists use other methods for asthma management.  They might burn herbs over acupuncture points.  They might give patients a certain kind of massage, or teach them breathing exercises.  There is no known validity in these treatments. 

Chiropractors rely on spinal manipulation for asthma management.  The reviews of this theory are mixed.  One study compared a sham, or fake, type of spinal manipulation that was done on one group of asthma patients. The other group got the real manipulations.  There was little, if any, difference between the two groups.  This would suggest that chiropractic adjustments are not effective for asthma management. 

However, another study was done.  Eighty-one children were followed through asthma management at a chiropractic clinic over a period of time.  Overall, there were 45% fewer asthma attacks among these children after treatment.  30% were able to significantly reduce their asthma medications.  Thus, the jury is still out on the effect of chiropractic medicine on asthma management. 

There is a physiotherapy specialty certification for those who wish to work with asthma management.  Physiotherapists may take a test to become certified as Certified Asthma Educators, and they help people to deal with their condition.  What is more, Medicare and Medicaid pay for their services. 

There is also some evidence that asthma management for those who have to be admitted to the hospital should involve physiotherapy.  There was a study of respiratory patients who were given range of motion exercises while in the hospital.  The average stay was three days less than those without the exercises. 

One challenge of traditional physiotherapy for asthma management is that dehydration happens easily.  Asthmatics get dehydrated more easily, and it affects them in a worse way.  It can even bring on an asthma attack.  Any exercise plan must take this into account. 

There are ways for physiotherapy to be used for asthma management.  Certainly, there are other methods, and research may prove these methods have value.  In the meantime, some methods are better saved for alternative methods to be used in addition to medications and proven physiotherapy treatments. 


What Physiotherapy Has to Do with Cardiac Surgery

One may feel fatigued and sore after cardiac surgery; it is only natural.  On the other hand, it seems altogether strange to think of embarking on a course of physiotherapy afterwards instead of just resting.  Yet, that is just what is recommended. 

Types of cardiac surgery include bypass surgeries, angioplasty, stents, heart valve replacements, and even heart transplants.  Patients having all of these surgeries can benefit from physiotherapy.  Patients who have other cardiac problems can use the help too; they include victims of heart attacks, heart failure, peripheral artery disease, chest pain, and cardiomyopathy. 

Physiotherapy will usually begin within a couple of weeks of cardiac surgery, if not sooner.  The first step is for nurses or doctors to administer a stress test to determine how much exercise one can handle.  This involves walking on a treadmill or riding on a stationary bike while having one's vital signs monitored. 

When the data is gathered and analyzed, a program of physical therapy will be put into place.  For safety's sake, it is often the routine to bring cardiac surgery patients into the hospital or an outpatient clinic for their exercise at first. 

Under the watchful eyes of nurses and physiotherapy personnel, cardiac surgery patients will be looked after as they perform their exercises.  This way the professionals will be alerted if the cardiac surgery patient is having troublesome symptoms.  The exercises done are cardiovascular exercises like walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.

After the initial period of the monitored physiotherapy has passed, cardiac surgery patients will be sent to do their exercising at home.  Before they go, though, they will have been taught warm-up and stretching exercises, and when to stop.  Generally, they should exercise three to five times a week unless they are having problems. 

Swimming is another form of exercise that is especially good for cardiac surgery patients.  It is a cardiovascular exercise that is not hard on the joints, so it will often be kept up longer.  The only thing to remember is that all wounds must be completely healed first. 

Physiotherapy for cardiac surgery patients is often not carried out by physiotherapy staff.  Nurses in hospitals and clinics who are trained to deal with these areas of rehabilitation for cardiac surgery will do the work.  However, physiotherapists sometimes help, and the principles are the same. 

The physiotherapist will instruct the patient about what activities are acceptable in the weeks and months after surgery.  During the first six weeks, there will only be a few activities allowed, such as light housekeeping or going to movies, for example.  From then until the third month, more activities will be added.  You may be able to return to work, at least part-time, you may be able to drive.  After this time, your physiotherapist will work with you to ease you back into all your old activities. 

If a patient has cardiac surgery and then does nothing to regain strength, that patient will soon weaken.  Physiotherapy offers a means to stay in shape, or get into shape.  It lends more purpose to the cardiac surgery by making the patient much healthier than before the surgery ever took place. 
What Is Chronic Airways Disease and How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Chronic airways disease is actually a group of diseases.  These diseases are also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  Chronic airways disease can cause a major change in the quality of a patient's life.  However, physiotherapy can help. 

Diseases included in chronic airways disease are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, for example.  Many other diseases that restrict or limit breathing are included.  It is most often caused by cigarette smoking, but also can be caused by inhaling other irritants such as those in the workplace.  Chronic airways disease is more common among the elderly. 

Along with having shortness of breath, the patient is likely to wheeze and cough frequently.  He will produce sputum in copious amounts, and sometimes that will be streaked with blood.  The lips and fingers can take on a bluish tint because he is not getting enough oxygen, and heart trouble may follow for the same reason. 

Physiotherapy can help with chronic airways disease in many ways.  One is in breathing retraining.  This is just what it sounds like.  A physiotherapist works with the patient to teach him ways to breathe that will draw the most air while eliminating the most wheezing.  This can be a great help for those with chronic airways disease. 

Another method used by physiotherapists for those with chronic airways disease is called clapping and postural drainage.  The postural drainage part is done by positioning the body so that the affected lung is above the trachea. 

Many people do this at home by lying on a bed and bending the top half of the body over it.  The physiotherapist teaches one how to do this so that the lung will drain.  Before long, the patient with chronic airways disease will be doing this procedure on his own. 

The other part of the help for chronic airways disease patients is called clapping.  This is done by cupping the hand and clapping the back to loosen secretions in the chest.  It is also called chest percussion.  The physiotherapist will do this procedure, and will teach it to a family member or caregiver. 

People with chronic airways disease often have a problem with weakening legs.  This is because, as they have trouble breathing, they avoid walking or doing physical exercise of any sort.  The goal of physiotherapy in this case is to strengthen the legs through treadmill-walking or stationary-cycling.  This can only be done, however, if the patient is well enough to start out. 

Conditioning the arms of chronic airways disease patients is just as important.  Most daily jobs rely heavily on the arms to do the work.  Exercises which focus on the arms not only strengthen the muscles of the arms.  They also help the patient start breathing better. 

Chronic airways disease is a condition that can benefit from physiotherapy.  The physiotherapist treating the patient must have specialized knowledge for this type of treatment.  Simple methods can be overlooked as modern treatments come to the forefront.  Yet, physiotherapy personnel who know this technique can make a big difference in patients' lives. 

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