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Physiotherapy is the treatment of disorders affecting the bones and muscles, encompassing sporting and general injuries, physical deterioration brought on by disease, illness or old age, physical disabilities and growth disorders. A physiotherapist’s role is to improve the flexibility, mobility and comfort of patients.
They work in a range of settings, from NHS hospitals and private clinics to sports clubs, gyms, schools and universities. Much of a time they will work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside doctors, surgeons and other musculoskeletal specialists.
They discuss patients’ complaints and symptoms, look at medical histories and perform tests in order to identify a condition and devise the best treatment strategy.
All methods of treatment adopted by a physiotherapist are non-invasive, i.e. non-surgical. They use a range of therapies, including massage, manipulation, stretching, exercise, hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.
Many large sporting clubs employ full-time physiotherapists to oversee the physical wellbeing of athletes and team members. Therapists advise them on the best ways to exercise and enhance performance and will also help rehabilitate sportspeople after an injury.
Much of their work will involve teaching patients how to exercise and stretch in order to optimise treatment and speed up the healing process.
As is the case for all healthcare professionals, keeping patients relaxed and comfortable should be a top priority, along with maintaining extremely high standards of cleanliness throughout the workspace.