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What Is Chronic Airways Disease and How Can Physiotherapy Help

What Is Chronic Airways Disease and How Can Physiotherapy Help

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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.

Physiotherapy For Comatose Patients

One of the most tragic thing someone can experience is a loved one in a coma. While some comas may be medically induced following an accident or some other trauma, others are the result of many different things, including illness, ingesting of certain toxins or accidents. Physiotherapy for comatose patients is recommended and performed daily in hospitals for a variety of reasons. In many cases, family members also participate in this treatment in the hopes of bringing their loved one back to “life.”

In most hospitals, family involvement to “bring someone out of a coma” is encouraged by the staff. The sound of a familiar voice and human touch are instrumental in helping a comatose patient return to consciousness.

When a person is in a comatose state, no one is exactly sure what is going on in their head. Those who have brain activity are deemed to be alive and there is little anyone can do but wait to see how long it will take for them to come out of the coma. Those with no brain activity are usually considered to be clinically dead, although many continue to stay on life support. One of the most difficult decisions a family member can make is whether to discontinue the life support for a loved one in a coma who is considered clinically dead.

The time period one spends in a coma may vary. Because comatose patients are immobile, it is imperative for them to receive some form of physical treatment on a daily basis. Physiotherapy for comatose patients involves moving their limbs and massage. It is important that their muscles remain strong and that atrophy does not set in. It is also important to keep their blood circulation going. Some members of the medical community also feel that physiotherapy for comatose patients plays another important role, besides physical. Touch is very important to human beings, as is human communication. Often, while the therapist is working with the comatose patient, he or she will talk to them, as if they can hear. Often times, the patient can hear as the ocular nerves are usually the last to go during a coma. This talking, touch, movement, massage and exercise of the limbs can help someone come out of a coma sooner than someone who is just ignored.

In addition, those who receive physiotherapy for comatose patients will regain their strength much sooner than those who receive no therapy. As the muscles were continuously exercised during the coma period, the person who emerges from a coma will have a much better time beginning to walk and moving around. Massaging of muscles also insures that they will not experience atrophy. Compassionate physiotherapists work for hours with comatose patients, massaging their muscles, exercising them, talking to them and trying to bring them out from their comatose state.

Physiotherapy for comatose patients takes many different forms including physical and emotional. Both are equally important. Those who receive physiotherapy for comatose patients have a much better prognosis for rapid recovery when the awaken from the coma than those who do not.

What Physiotherapy Has to Do with Cardiac Surgery

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.

Attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy

Over the years, there has been a tremendous change over the attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy. Decades ago, the only people deemed suitable to treat any injured person, no matter what the injury, was a medical doctor. Anyone else who tried to use manipulations or massage or even exercise therapy was considered by the medical community to be a dangerous quack who had no business in the profession. Patients recovering from illness or operations or even childbirth were encouraged to stay immobile and get plenty of bed rest. Nurses would often turn patients so they wouldn’t develop “bed sores” from lying in the same place for too long.

The attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy was passed on to patients as well as insurance companies who refused to pay benefits for treatment from non-doctors. But physiotherapy is not a new science, it is an ancient art that has been practiced for thousands of years. Gradually, people who were dissatisfied with treatment they were receiving from their doctors, or who didn’t want to become hooked on painkillers, began seeking alternative medicine to relieve their aches and pains. Many found success with physiotherapy and told others. The medical community began to take notice and also began to realize what Hippocrates knew about movement and blood clots in immobile patients. As a result, over the past few decades, the attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy went from being dismissive to acceptance.

One of the first modern benefits of physiotherapy was seen during the polio epidemics of the 1930s and 1940s. With the help of those who understood something about physiotherapy, many children were able to walk. Sadly, many who relied on the sole knowledge of medical doctors remained crippled. It was evident, even then, that manipulation, exercise and massage could benefit children suffering from this crippling illness, but it still took many more decades before physiotherapy was accepted into the forefront of medical society.

Today, doctors work alongside physiotherapists to provide the best care and recovery options for their patients. While a doctor can diagnose an illness, relieve symptoms with medication, perform surgeries and recommend the best treatment for an illness, disease or injury, a physiotherapist can enable a person who is recovering from such procedures to make a much quicker and safer recovery. Years ago, women who gave birth in the hospital were advised to lie down as much as possible and often spent a week in the hospital after a vaginal birth. Today, women are encouraged to move around as much as possible and are often released after only 48 hours after giving birth. Nature has not changed; but attitudes about movement and medicine has evolved. It is no longer considered advisable for people to stay immobile for weeks on end without some sort of physical therapy. This is where the physiotherapist comes in.

The attitude of the medical community regarding physiotherapy has improved greatly over the years and particularly during the past several decades. Today there are thousands of opportunities in this field for those who wish to aid the recovery of patients in a safe, effective manner.

How to Start a Physiotherapy Career

How to Start a Physiotherapy Career

If one wants to help others with physical problems, one might want to start a physiotherapy career. By doing so, one could learn to evaluate physical problems, create plans for patients, and see to carrying out those plans. A physiotherapy career can be professionally rewarding.

The average physiotherapist is between 25 and 54, earns $50,000 to $60,000, and works in a full-time salaried position. Many of these started out with a BA degree, but the trend is towards hiring MA degree or doctoral degree holders who are beginning a physiotherapy career.

If one is considering a physiotherapy career, the degree one gets in important. A physiotherapy aide can get an entry-level degree at a university, community college, or technical school. This is a two-year degree. After graduation, the physiotherapy aide will perform many jobs in the treatment of patients, under the direction of the physiotherapist.

To begin a physiotherapy career as a professional, one needs to get either a master’s degree or a doctoral degree. With the master’s degree programs, one may have to enter the program at the same time one starts college. At other places, one simply takes about three years of school after the bachelor’s degree. Doctoral degrees have similar requirements.

Before one gets into a physiotherapy degree program, one needs to meet specific requirements. Coursework in various life sciences like biology, anatomy are needed. Also important are courses in fields like psychology and social science.

To choose a school to prepare one for a physiotherapy degree, it is wise to consider whether that school offers clinical experiences as a part of the training. It is also important to be aware of the degrees that are available to earn, and the length of the course of study.

The final step before getting that first job to start a physiotherapy career is accreditation. The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) is tasked with ensuring that physiotherapists are fit for the licensing exam. At that point, the licensure exam must be taken and passed. Employers are impressed with high licensure scores. Once the test is complete, you are ready to start your physiotherapy career.

Once the career is started, there will be several things to consider. One is that many states expect one to get routine updates on one’s education. This can be done through workshops and continuing education courses. You will not be able to keep your license without keeping up on the latest knowledge throughout your physiotherapy career.

Also, you may want to consider a specialty. There are physiotherapy career specialties in geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, neurological disorders, and sports medicine, to name a few. By choosing a specialty, you make yourself more valuable, thus earning yourself a higher salary and often more respect. Besides this, you can choose a field that is the most important to you.

You can begin your physiotherapy career by researching schools and finding which ones have the best programs for you. If you do become a physiotherapy professional, you will find both financial and personal rewards await you.

How to Check Physiotherapy Credentials

How to Check Physiotherapy Credentials

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When you have physiotherapy done, you are putting your body in the hands of someone you believe to be a trained professional.
Pain and disfigurement could result if the procedures are done wrong. That is why it is a good idea to check a therapist’s physiotherapy credentials.

Physical therapy aides may play a role in physiotherapy. One is not out of line to ask about what kind of physiotherapy credentials such a person has. The standard may simply be a two-year course of study at a Jr. College or a specialty school. Yet, it is important that the clinic is not just hiring anyone who walks in off the street.

While physical therapy aides can help with certain treatment tasks, it is the physiotherapist that assesses the condition of the patient. This person also plans the course of treatment and specific treatments like special exercises.

This physiotherapist is the person to whom the patient will return for progress reports and who will oversee the work of the physical therapy aide. It is very important to ask for the physiotherapy credentials of this professional.

College coursework beyond the bachelor’s degree is required for good physiotherapy credentials. If a physiotherapy candidate meets all the requirements, a master’s degree with advanced training will prepare her for work in the field.

Physiotherapy credentials to look for are: Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT), International Education Consultants (IEC), International Consultants of Delaware, Inc. (ICD), International Education Research Foundation (IERF), and International Credentialing Associates, Inc. (ICA). Regardless of whether any of these credentials are required, the CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education) is the first credential needed.

There are different requirements for physiotherapy credentials in all 50 states. Different physiotherapy credentialing agencies are relied upon in different states. Some require a score of 600 or more on the licensing exam. Some require on-the-job training or professional references from physiotherapists who observe them in training.

Most states also require some ongoing education to keep physiotherapy credentials current. Find out how often the license needs to be renewed in your state. Then, you will know an outdated license when you see one. If you go into a physiotherapist’s office and see an old license, ask if that is the newest one. If your physiotherapist is not able to produce a current license, look elsewhere for your physiotherapy.

To check on these physiotherapy credentials, it is possible to contact the state licensing board of physical therapists. One can find the contact information of any state’s physiotherapy licensing board online. If all else fails, ask the physiotherapist to provide proof of her own training and licensing. It is to her advantage to encourage trust by being open about her physiotherapy credentials.

There is no need to be suspicious or unfriendly about asking for physiotherapy credentials. Chances are your physiotherapist is perfectly qualified to meet all your needs for physical rehabilitation or help with physical problems. It is important to find out about the physiotherapy credentials, but it is just as important not to make an enemy of your physiotherapist.

What Does A Physiotherapist Do?


Many people are now just beginning to understand about physiotherapy.
If you or a loved one has been injured, or have suffered an illness or undergone an operation, chances are that you have come into contact with a physiotherapist. Many people wonder “What does a physiotherapist do?” There is no set answer as physiotherapy encompasses many different aspects of medicine.

A physiotherapist is a medical individual who uses a variety of treatments, including manipulation, massage, exercise therapy and even counseling to help individuals who have been immobilized due to various reasons, to regain their mobility and aid their recovery process. A physiotherapist cannot prescribe medicine, instead, he or she relies on using a variety of techniques that have proven to be just as effective or, in many cases, more effective than medication.

Medication often only masks pain. In prior years, those who experienced chronic pain were often prescribed pain medications that were not only physically dangerous when abused, but also very addictive. In most cases, individuals would have to take additional doses of the pain medication to achieve the same relief. Abuse of prescription pain medication is almost an epidemic in this country and accounts for many people who have had to enter rehabilitation centers to rid themselves of this addiction.

Other methods doctors prescribed to alleviate pain often involved surgery. Sometimes this surgery had substantial risks, particularly back surgeries. Back pain is the most common reason why people visit the doctor each year. Yet there is little a medical doctor can do but prescribe pain medication and recommend surgery. What does a physiotherapist do to alleviate back pain? He or she finds the root of the pain, most often in the spinal column, and through massage and manipulation can alleviate the pain and in many cases, cure the condition, without the use of surgery or drugs.

In the past, people who were recovering from an operation spent quite some time in the hospital, after which, they were sent home under strict bed rest. This can be dangerous, particularly for an older person who runs the risk of developing blood clots in their legs that can travel to their heart or brain. It became advisable to recommend that these patients begin to mobilize at a slow pace. This is where the physiotherapists came in. Now, instead of releasing elderly patients home after operations, many are released to rehab centers where qualified physiotherapists can ease them into mobilization and allow them to make a full recovery.

From treating people with chronic health conditions and diseases, alleviating pain, migraines, stress and helping people with arthritis regain movement in their hands and joints – these are all examples of “what does a physiotherapist do?” Physiotherapists are an integral part of the medical community and are essential when aiding with recovery from various illnesses, operations or accidents.

It is no longer important to ask “what does a physiotherapist do?” It is more important to know that he or she is there for you when you need them.

The Types of Neurological Conditions and Physiotherapy Used

The Types of Neurological Conditions and Physiotherapy Used

Neurological conditions may be very severe. They can be life-threatening at times, and they can certainly affect the quality of the patient’s life. There are many neurological conditions and physiotherapy can help many of them.

Alzheimer’s disease takes away the declining years of many older people. It is surprising to note that it can occur in people 40 years old or younger. ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease is a disease that robs the brain and spinal cord of the ability to move. Both of these are neurological diseases that can be helped by physiotherapy.

MS, another of the neurological conditions that affects the brain and spinal cord, can lead to a long, slow decline. Parkinson’s disease is another of the neurological conditions of the brain. This one can cause shaking and loss of coordination, and problems moving and walking. Physiotherapy offers some relief to these patients.

Guillain Barre Syndrome is one of the types of neurological conditions that affect the brain and spinal cord too. It is a case of the person’s own immune system attacking outside these areas. It can be severe enough to require emergency hospitalization. Physiotherapy offers help with regaining strength and adapting to life with the disease.

Neurological conditions that are autoimmune diseases are difficult to treat. Myasthenia Gravis is one such illness. It causes muscular weakness because of a lack of communication between nerves and muscles. Like other neurological conditions, it can be very debilitating.

A great amount of physiotherapy is needed to help Myasthenia Gravis patients to live with their neurological conditions. This includes strength training, training in the use of supportive devices, and help with common tasks. One problem physiotherapists face when working with MG patients is that too much exercise will make their condition worse and not better.

Many of the patients with neurological conditions cannot carry on daily functions such as caring for themselves and their homes. It is not uncommon for these people to be unable to work. They may even have trouble walking or getting up and down stairs at all.

Difficulty swallowing or breathing; dizziness, poor balance and falls, and a total lack of endurance plague many of these patients who have neurological conditions. Medications or surgeries can help with some of their problems, but many problems are ones they will have to abide. Physiotherapy can offer solutions that other branches of medicine cannot.

Exercises, as in most physiotherapy, include strengthening and stretching exercises. In whatever way is possible, patients with neurological conditions need to get aerobic exercise. Physiotherapists may be able to make a plan so that this is possible.

Part of this plan for patients with neurological conditions would include balance training and coordination training. With these two skills in place, the patient will have a more advanced ability to do aerobic and other exercises. Aquatic exercise is also used.

Patients with neurological conditions must live with many problems of lack of movement and function. Physiotherapy can help them to overcome some of these problems. It can make their lives easier and more pleasant, besides.

What Spinal Cord Injury Patients Can Accomplish with Physiotherapy

What Spinal Cord Injury Patients Can Accomplish with Physiotherapy

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Sports injuries and car accidents, among other injuries, can cause spinal cord injury. The range of spinal cord injury is wide. Some of these injuries are fairly minor and will heal well with a limited amount of physiotherapy, while others need physiotherapy for the rest of their lives.

As always with physiotherapy, the first step is evaluation. A plan is formulated that will include therapies specific to the kind of spinal cord injury the patient has. Neck injuries can cause quadriplegia, which requires special treatments.

An important issue in spinal cord injury is the level of the damage. If a physiotherapy program is not followed faithfully, the spine will begin to atrophy below the level of the spinal cord injury. The spine will shrink and the whole body below that point will become weaker as time goes by.

It is important that spinal cord injury patients get exercise of some form. They are prone to osteoporosis and heart problems, among other conditions. If there is a total lack of exercise, these risk factors become even more pronounced.

Physiotherapy for spinal cord injury involves exercising and stimulating the nerves and muscles below the level of the damage. This will allow patients with spinal cord injury to stay in good physical condition where they can. That way, if a cure becomes available, they will not be too weakened to benefit from it.

Every exercise the physiotherapy personnel go through with the spinal cord injury patient should be video-taped. This allows work to go on at home with an example of each exercise. Range-of-motion exercises are done by a caregiver, who moves the limbs so that they will not become set in one position.

For spinal cord injury patients who are not quadriplegics, there is physiotherapy using mats. These mats are raised off the floor, and can be operated by a hand crank or a power system. The physiotherapist will give exercises where the patient lies on the side, back, or stomach and works out or sits up and works out.

There are many restorative therapies in physiotherapy for spinal cord injury patients. These include electrical stimulation, biofeedback, vibrational therapy, laser therapy and other stimulation activities. Aqua therapy is also a physiotherapy method that is conducive to progress in spinal cord injury patients.

With all these therapies, spinal cord injury patients can sometimes restore themselves to earlier functioning. Other times, they can simply keep their bodies from deteriorating as they wait for a cure.

Spinal cord injury research is being conducted constantly. Physiotherapy is one of the fields that are being explored. One study is putting spinal cord injury patients in harnesses over treadmills stimulating walking. They are trying to find a way to help people walk again who had given up hope of doing so.

Physiotherapy gives hope for spinal cord injury patients. It allows them to have the most normal functioning that they are currently able to have. Perhaps when a cure comes outcomes will be even better. However, physiotherapy will probably always be needed for spinal cord injury patients.

The History of Physiotherapy

The History of Physiotherapy

At least as early as the days of Hippocrates, massage was used and the history of physiotherapy was begun. The practice of physiotherapy has evolved through the centuries from the earliest forms to the complex system of treatment it is now.

In 460 B.C. Hector was using a type of physiotherapy called hydrotherapy, or water therapy. Professionals use this type of therapy today, although it is more specialized for each type of condition that the patients have.

In 1894, there is the first evidence of a group of nurses in the history of physiotherapy with a Chartered Society. Within twenty years, physiotherapy programs were set up in other countries. New Zealand’s started in 1913 and America’s in 1914.

The first American professionals in the history of physiotherapy were from the Walter Reed College and Hospital in Portland Oregon. Rather than being called physiotherapists, they were called reconstruction aides. These aides were nurses and they had a physical education background. They were important in the recovery of many World War I veterans.

Research has been done throughout the modern history of physiotherapy. In fact, right near the very beginning, a research study was done in the US. It was published in 1921. Physiotherapy research continues today in a myriad of specialties.

Also in 1921, the Physical Therapy Association was formed by Mary McMillan. This group later became the APTA, arguably the most influential organization in the American history of physiotherapy.

The Georgia Warm Springs Foundation was started in 1924 to deal with the ever-growing epidemic of polio. The foundation offered physiotherapy for these patients. Sister Kinney was known nationally for her work with polio victims. She practiced at the Mayo Clinic. The polio epidemic was a turning point in the history of physiotherapy.

After the polio epidemic had waned, the treatments of choice were massage, exercise, and traction. In about 1950, chiropractic manipulations came on the scene in the history of physiotherapy. This was most common in Great Britain.

After that time, the history of physiotherapy moved from hospitals into other arenas of service. There were, and are, physiotherapists working in clinics, private practices, nursing homes, and schools. The Orthopedics specialty of physiotherapy was born about this time, also.

The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy came onto the scene, and began making changes and has influenced the profession ever since. Mariano Rocabado was a physiotherapist who had a profound impact. Freddy Kaltenborn, from Norway, influenced physiotherapy on the east coast of the US. At the same time, Geoffrey Maitland of Australia changed the way training was done in the history of physiotherapy.

The focus during the 1980s history of physiotherapy was on technology. New procedures came about that used computers, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and other devices. By the 1990s, interest had shifted to manual therapy, with Freddy Kaltenborn again leading the way.

During the history of physiotherapy, training and practice have changed and improved. Many brilliant pioneers have left their marks in the literature and organizations of the field. Physiotherapy is a well-respected profession as a result.