The Physiotherapy Profession
Physiotherapy is a health care profession, which involves patient evaluation through the administration of physical and/or extent of injury prior to the use of physical modalities for preventive and therapeutic purposes. Physiotherapists perform tests to assess patients; joint motion (goniometry), strength and endurance of muscles (dynamometry), joint stability (arthrokinematics), walking (gait) pattern, functional ability (physical work capacity); function of the heart and lungs (cardiorespiratory fitness), integrity of sensation and perception (sensorimotor status), need and use of braces (orthosis and prosthesis), and performance of activities required in daily living.
The treatment commonly administered by Physiotherapists include the use of therapeutic exercise (to increase strength, endurance, co-ordination and range of joint motion), heat (infra-red radiation, short-wave and microwave diathermies), ultra-violet radiation, ice (cryotherapy), electricity (transcutaneous electrical stimulation), sound (ultrasound), water (hydrotherapy), direct current to introduce medicinal ions into the skin and mucous membranes (iontophoresis), manual therapy, electro-acupuncture and cold laser.
Physiotherapists also provide educational services to prevent the incidence of physical disability and movement dysfunction. During treatment, the Physiotherapist monitors the patient’s performance and modifies the treatment plan in the light of patient’s responses and goals. Apart from these services, Physiotherapists engage in research to develop more effective treatment or methods of evaluation in order to improve patient care. Cognitive scientific knowledge is the flesh of physiotherapy; while psychomotor skills and affective traits constitutes the soul of our profession. Researchers from several parts of the world including Nigeria are contributing immensely to our body of knowledge. The major areas of focus in current physiotherapy Research studies include:-
- Neuromuscular re-education
- Musculoskeletal re-education
- Cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory research
- Management of acute and chronic pains
- Kinesiological and Biomechanical studies of Human motion in normal and pathological conditions
- Energy costs in ambulation
- Wound healing, both in chronic and acute stages, and much more
There are also different Disciplines and Specialization in Physiotherapy.