What is physiotherapy?

          Physiotherapy is that branch of medicine which makes use of some physical agents or exercises to treat a disease or an injury. It is also called physical therapy. More strictly it is a branch of rehabilitation medicine. Doctors who specialize in this branch of medicine are called physiotherapists.

          Physiotherapy is helpful in treating many kinds of disabilities and diseases. It is often used to treat paralysis and muscle weaknesses, such as caused by poliomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. It is also used in treating heart and lung diseases. It can also be used as a treatment aid for amputations, fractures and other injuries. With the help of this treatment, the disabled person may lead a constructive and creative life.

          Many kinds of devices and treatments are used in physiotherapy. Radiant heat lamps are used for warming up the body to remove the pains in the backbone. Electric heating pads, diathermy, hydrotherapy (water treatment) and special baths are used to apply heat to the diseases or damaged parts of the body.

           Warming up of the body relieves the pain and improves the blood circulation in the body. Soon after certain injuries cooling methods are also used to reduce pain and swelling. Ultraviolet lamps are used to kill certain germs and to help healing because ultraviolet light has more energy and can destroy germs. Ultrasonic waves are used to treat inflammatory conditions of muscles and joints.

           Exercise is the most important part of physiotherapy. In fact, a layman believes that physiotherapy is concerned only with different kinds of physical exercises. However, the physiotherapists make use of various equipments such as pulleys, weights, parallel bars, stationary bicycles and dumb bells. Splints, braces, crutches and wheel chairs are also used to help disabled persons. Physiotherapists help people learn how to use these devices and develop confidence in doing daily tasks.

           Physiotherapists work in clinics, hospitals and schools for the handicapped. Nowadays the use of physiotherapy is constantly increasing.