The treatment of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions is a core function of physiotherapy practice. Patients with arthritis can benefit from joint mobilisation, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and muscle strengthening exercises. Physiotherapy may reduce arthritic pain and reliance on drug therapy. Unlike pharmaceuticals, physiotherapy is non invasive and has minimal side effects and few contraindications.
OSTEOARTHRITIS (OA) is also commonly called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Clinical signs of OA include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, creaking, locking of joints and localised swelling and/ or inflammation. OA commonly affects the hands, feet, spine and the large weight bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.
Exercise including running in the absence of injury has NOT been found to increase the risk of OA. Mechanical stress on joints underlies OA. This can include misalignment of bones and muscular weakness and dysfunction; being overweight; loss of strength in muscles supporting joints; and impairment of peripheral nerves leading to sudden or uncoordinated movements that over strain joints.
Physiotherapy intervention can prevent deterioration of the condition and improve quality of life of arthritis sufferers by relieving pain and increasing joint movement. Research shows that physiotherapy management of knee joint osteoarthritis is highly effective. (Bennell K and Crossley K. Knee Joint Osteoarthritis Position Statement, 2001.)
Physiotherapy may reduce pain, improve movement and posture, strengthen muscles and improve independent function. Treatment methods include gentle passive movement, heat, electrical treatments, aquatic physiotherapy, splints and advice on preventing further joint damage.
Headaches are often caused by disorders of the upper back and neck or physical and emotional tension. Our physiotherapists can assess your signs and symptoms to determine if your headache type will respond to physiotherapy treatment. Some Headaches can be alleviated by physiotherapy treatment of the back, shoulder and neck. Your physiotherapist can show you how to minimise the pain associated with headaches and how to prevent further recurrence.
Physiotherapists can assess, plan and implement programs to assist patients with conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, angina, (following heart attack), and chronic lung diseases. Physiotherapy is a crucial part in detecting and correcting breathing issues. These can be associated with lung disease, trauma or as a consequence of chest, abdominal or pelvic surgery. Following surgery programs are designed to educate patients and their relatives on lifestyle changes necessary to achieve optimal post operative recovery and minimise the risk of relapse or greater illness.
Balance dysfunction can occur at any age and can be influenced by many factors. Balance issues increase the risk of falls, which is one of the most common causes of broken bones. When deficits are identified retraining programs can be developed to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. With both balance disorders and vertigo, physiotherapy can significantly improve the quality of life of patients, maintain mobility and independent living.
Walking Aid - The physiotherapist will ensure the correct aid is selected and the patient is educated about correct use. An exercise program may be able to improve balance to the stage where the aid is no longer required.
Vertigo – or dizziness. This is a common problem especially for many older people. Physiotherapists can assist in identifying the activities which trigger vertigo and modify movements to reduce the severity of symptoms.