Physiotherapy aims to relieve pain and restore normal movement and function using a comprehensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. After full assessment and diagnosis, the techniques used include manipulation of joints, soft tissue techniques, exercises and other methods such as acupuncture, ultrasound and interferential.
Acupuncture is an ancient system of Chinese medicine dating back over 2000 years and is commonly used in surgery in that country to relieve pain, often in combination with other anaesthetics.
Dentists sometimes use it instead of conventional anaesthetics. It involves inserting very fine needles into specific points in the body in order to stimulate the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and serotonin (to promote well-being).
There is normally little or no discomfort from acupuncture as the needles are so thin.
Ultrasound uses a form of high-frequency sound waves to increase local blood flow, stimulate the healing of collagen tissue in ligaments and tendons, and improve the extensibility of collagen, thereby having a healing effect on injured tissue.
Interferential is the use of electrical impulses that are felt by the patient as a mild tingling sensation. It is very effective in the relief of muscle spasm and pain, thereby speeding up the return to normal pain-free movement.
Joint mobilisations and manipulations are hands-on techniques used to mobilise stiff and painful joints, restoring normal pain-free movement.
In the case of spinal joints, mobilisations help to relieve pressure on nerve roots, thereby relieving pain.
Used in most conditions treated by physiotherapists.
Each exercise program is specifically tailored to an individual patient, taking into account the diagnosis, age and fitness of the patient, and the level of activity attainable.