Many of us will need the help of a physiotherapist at some point in our lives. So what do physiotherapists do?
They help treat physical problems, linked to a number of the body's systems, including:
- musculoskeletal - bones, joints and soft tissues
- neuromuscular - the brain and nervous system
- cardiovascular - heart and blood circulation
- respiratory - the organs that help you breathe, such as the windpipe (trachea), voicebox (larynx) and lungs
Examples of approaches used in physiotherapy include:
- movement and exercise - taking into account a person's current level of health and their specific requirements
- manual therapy techniques - where the physiotherapist aids recovery, by using their hands to relieve muscle pain and stiffness, and encourage blood flow to an injured part of the body
- other techniques - such as heat, cold and acupuncture to ease pain
One of the most common conditions which drives people to seek the help of physiotherapy is back pain, which affects about 80% of people at some point in their lives.
If you have a health problem such as back pain, you can help ease the pain and prevent it recurring by:
- keeping active and mobile with regular exercise
- maintaining good posture while standing, sitting and driving
- maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight if you are overweight
- always lifting and handling objects safely.
There is, however, a new telephone advice service operating in our Health Board area that aims to point you in the right direction if you have a problem with your joints, muscles or back. The lines for this are open 9am-6pm Monday to Friday (but not Public Holidays).
The number to call for this is: 0800 917 9390.
Your GP may suggest that you call this number, if he/she thinks you may benefit from some key information and advice to help with your problem, or by possibly a referral to a healthcare professional if you need it (for example a physiotherapist, podiatrist or other musculoskeletal specialist.) Please note, this service is not for people who need a home visit, which should be arranged by your doctor.