Physical therapy is also known as physiotherapy, is one of the allied health professions.
Integrative Physical Therapy is provided by physical therapists who promote, maintain, or restore health through physical examination, diagnosis, prognosis, patient education, physical intervention, rehabilitation, disease prevention, and health promotion. Physical therapists are known as physiotherapists in many countries, who mainly focus on relieving pain, promoting healing, restoring function and movement, and facilitation and adaptation associated with the injury. Therapy also focuses on ergonomics or body mechanic training, fitness, and wellness.
Physiotherapy (PT) is an age-old form of treatment modality, which specializes in re‑establishing the movement, physical strength, and functioning in individuals affected by some form of injury, illness, or disability.
Physiotherapy history (the 1900s to 2000s)
In 1913, ‘The School of Physiotherapy’ was established at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and during 1914, Reed College was established in Portland in the United States of America to educate about the ‘reconstitution aides’.
During First World War in 1917, Americans used Zander’s machines and Ling’s Swedish movement to treat the injured soldiers. At that time, PT was known as “mechanotherapy” and Zander machines were used in specialized rooms.
In 1920, an outbreak of polio led to a greater need for improvising the existing techniques of PT.
In 1921, a significant improvement was established in the area of PT. A research paper on the therapy was published in PT review. During the same time, Mary McMillan, also known as ‘Mother of Physical Therapy’, revolutionized the area of PT by establishing the “American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association”, currently known as the “American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)”. She also contributed significantly to the ‘reconstruction aide services’.
During Second World War (1935-1945), special PT clinics were established to treat injured soldiers. Hence, it was only then that the importance of PT as a specialized treatment therapy shot to prominence.
In early 1950, PT was performed in hospitals only; however, it was only in late 1950 that PT was practiced outside the hospitals. By 1974, APTA established a specialized division known as Orthopedic Section for the therapists who were specialized in orthopedic PT.
In 1974, the ‘International Federation of Orthopedic Manipulative Therapy’ was established.
In 1980, due to the advent of computers in the healthcare industry, devices, such as electrical stimulators, were introduced to perform PT. During the last two decades, exponential advancement in the area of PT and specialized techniques such as cardiopulmonary physical skin neurological, and sports therapy (recommended by APTA) has revolutionized the area of PT.
Over the course of history, physiotherapy has grown in popularity and acceptance. It has evolved into a specialized field that helps help countless patients improve various physical conditions.
Types of physiotherapy
Geriatric Physical Therapy
This form of treatment appeals to older adults as they go through the aging process. Those who specialize in geriatric physiotherapy have the skills and expertise needed to treat age-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence, arthritis, and loss of motion. They develop customized programs to relieve pain, restore mobility, and make daily activities easier.
Sports Physical Therapy
Elite athletes work with physical therapists on a regular basis. A good therapist can help you recover faster from training, prevent injuries, and boost your sports performance. He may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises, massage therapy, or mobility aids that speed up healing.
Sports therapists also conduct tests to assess your fitness level and identify your weak areas. For instance, they can prescribe exercises to those with muscle imbalances, shin splints, back pain, tendonitis. This will improve your overall performance and reduce injury risk.
Have you ever experienced back and neck pain, fractures, muscle strains, or sprains? Orthopedic physiotherapy can help with these issues. A skilled therapist will diagnose, manage and treat musculoskeletal disorders that affect your flexibility and range of motion.
In general, treatment involves a mix of balance and stretching exercises, cryotherapy, massage, ice and heat therapy, or spine manipulation techniques. Physiotherapists can also recommend at-home exercises and ergonomic devices that speed up healing.
Choose a physiotherapist who specializes in the problem you are experiencing. Some therapists are knowledgeable in treating women-specific issues, such as PMS and prenatal care. Others specialize in sports injuries. Thus, it’s important to assess your options and make an informed decision.
Pediatric Integrative Physical Therapy
This form of Integrative Physical Therapy aims to diagnose, prevent, and treat disorders that affect children and teens. Some examples include spina bifida, cerebral palsy, muscle diseases, birth defects, or developmental delays.
Those who specialize in pediatric therapy uses exercises and treatments to help young people regain their strength and range of motion, improve motor skills, and live a normal life.