Physiotherapy techniques and approaches
Physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability. In order to achieve this physiotherapy employs physical methods such as electrotherapy, massage, heat treatment and exercise rather than drugs or surgery.
Physiotherapy can involve a number of different treatment and preventative approaches, depending on the specific problems you're experiencing. Examples of these issues may be age related for example knee, neck or back pain arising from inflammatory arthritic degenerative changes or from acute injury caused by a fall or sports injury where ligaments or tendons may have been compromised.
At your first appointment, you will have an assessment which will determine if physiotherapy might be of help to you. The fee for the initial assessment including the first treatment is £40.
The main approaches of this clinic are:
Manual therapy (hands-on), includes techniques where a physiotherapist uses their hands to promote healing of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. These techniques include:
1. Joint mobilisation and manipulation. Joint mobilisation and manipulation is a manual therapy intervention, a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint. It is usually aimed at a 'target' synovial joint with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect. When applied to the spine, it is known as spinal mobilization.
2. Muscle Energy Techniques. Muscle Energy Techniques are a must for any patient seeking physiotherapy intervention.
Muscle energy is a direct and active technique; meaning it engages a restrictive barrier and requires the patient's participation for maximal effect. As the patient performs an isometric contraction, the following physiologic changes occur:
- Golgi tendon organ activation results in direct inhibition of agonist muscles
- A reflexive reciprocal inhibition occurs at the antagonistic muscles
- As the patient relaxes, agonist and antagonist muscles remain inhibited allowing the joint to be moved further into the restricted range of motion.
This is an incredibly powerful technique which makes use of a natural occurring reflex in the body which. Muscle energy techniques can significantly decrease disability and improve functionality in patients with disorders such as low back pain.3. Massage, Deep Tissue Massage and the Tonic Vibratory Massage Reflex.
The clinic uses traditional Swedish massage techniques to promote healing of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. These vary from light to vigorous. Swedish massage uses five styles of strokes. The five basic strokes are effleurage (sliding or gliding), petrissage (kneading), tapotement (rhythmic tapping), friction (cross fibre or with the fibres) and vibration/shaking.
Deep tissue massage or sports massage focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue and may be helpful for chronic and tense areas such as stiff necks, lower back tightness and sore shoulders.
Surprisingly, most evidence about massage benefits on musculoskeletal pain is indirect and/or weak. There is no “proof” that it “works” — that is, we have no clinically significant therapeutic effectiveness for a good variety of health problems.
However, the clinic does make use of vibratory massage/electro-vibratory massage which does seem to have some efficacy. The Ohio State University Medical Centre recommends using vibration massage as a method of pain relief that doesn’t involve drugs.
Vibrational massage helps relieve painful conditions by stimulating blood flow, relaxing the underlying muscles and creating a body-wide sense of relaxation. Vibration helps to stimulate endorphins in the muscles surrounding the painful site, which can further reduce the pain.
In general massage attempts to:
- relieve pain and stiffness
- improve blood circulation
- help fluid drain more efficiently from parts of the body
- improve the movement of different parts of the body
- promote relaxation
Manual therapy can be used to treat specific problems, such as back pain, but may also be useful for a range of conditions that don’t affect the bones, joints or muscles.
For example, massage may improve quality of life for some people with serious or long-term conditions by reducing levels of anxiety, depression and improving sleep quality. Manual techniques are also used to help certain lung conditions.4. Electrotherapy. Ultrasound
– The clinic uses both conventional and LIPUS ultrasound which has both thermal and non-thermal mechanical effects on injury and employs high-frequency sound waves to treat deep tissue injuries by stimulating blood circulation and cell activity in order to reduce pain and spasms, as well as speeding up healing. Ultrasound has been a part of clinical practice since sometime back in the 1950's, and remains a popular and evidenced intervention for a range of clinical problems. Ultrasound has become a common therapy for a number of clinical conditions: sprained ligaments, inflamed tendons and tendon sheaths, lacerations and other soft tissue damage, scar tissue sensitivity and tension, varicose ulcers, amputations, neuromata, strained and torn muscles, inflamed and damaged joint capsules, fasciitis, and delayed-onset muscle soreness. Recent uses include the accelerated healing of fractures, muscle injury, and thrombolysis. LIPUS ultrasound (Low Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound) – significantly accelerates fracture and soft tissue healing). 5. Therapeutic Low Level Laser Therapy.
Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a form of medicine that uses low-level (low-power) lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Whereas high-power lasers used in laser medicine destroy or cut tissue, low-power lasers are claimed to stimulate it and to encourage the cells to function.
LLLT is effective in relieving short-term pain for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, acute and chronic neck pain, tendinopathy, and chronic joint disorders, treatment of low back pain, and wound healing is unclear. 6. Education and advice.
The clinic offers advice for people of all ages attending the clinic in order to help them maintain their health and to help patients to manage pain and prevent disease.
Treatment at Kingsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic aims to restore and facilitate recovery, enabling people to stay in work while helping them to remain independent for as long as possible.7. Exercise and Movement.
The clinic offers rehabilitation advice following injury which may include graduated stretching and strengthening programmes.