Published by Jamaica Gleaner: Wednesday | November 15, 2023 | 12:05 AMKeisha Hill/Senior /Gleaner Writer
PHYSIOTHERAPY IS treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a patient’s mobility, function, and well-being. Physiotherapy helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health and fitness. Physiotherapists get you involved in your own recovery.
Physiotherapy, or physical therapy, is a healthcare discipline focused on enhancing and restoring physical function and mobility. It addresses a variety of conditions, including injuries, illnesses, or disabilities that affect the musculoskeletal, neurological, or respiratory system.
According to Dr Dave Foster, president of the Jamaica Physiotherapy Association (JPA), physiotherapists use a combination of exercises, manual therapy, education, and other techniques to reduce pain, improve strength, flexibility, and coordination.
"The goal is to help individuals regain or enhance their ability to perform daily activities, promoting overall health and well-being. Physiotherapy is often an integral part of rehabilitation programmes and can be beneficial in both preventing and managing various health issues," Dr Foster said.
Physiotherapy is crucial for restoring and maintaining physical function and mobility in individuals with injuries, illnesses, or disabilities. It employs a holistic approach, addressing musculoskeletal, neurological, and respiratory issues.
Dr Foster said physiotherapists use exercises, manual therapy, and other interventions to alleviate pain, improve strength, and enhance flexibility.
"This proactive form of healthcare not only aids in recovery, but also prevents future injuries, promoting overall well-being. By tailoring treatments to individual needs, physiotherapy plays a pivotal role in enhancing quality of life, promoting independence, and optimising functional abilities for a diverse range of patients," he said.
Physiotherapy, he said, is utilised across a broad spectrum of health conditions and situations. It is commonly employed in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal injuries, such as fractures, sprains, and strains.
"Individuals recovering from orthopaedic surgeries, like joint replacements, also benefit from physiotherapy to regain strength and mobility," Dr Foster said.
"Neurological conditions, including strokes, spinal cord injuries, and multiple sclerosis, often necessitate physiotherapy to address mobility challenges and enhance coordination. Patients with respiratory issues, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can benefit from breathing exercises and chest physiotherapy to improve lung function," he said.
Chronic pain conditions like arthritis or lower back pain, he said, are frequently managed with physiotherapy interventions aimed at reducing discomfort and improving function. Sports injuries, whether acute or chronic, often involve physiotherapy to facilitate a safe return to physical activity.
Physiotherapy, he said, also extends its reach to cardiovascular health, aiding individuals recovering from heart attacks or cardiac surgeries through tailored exercise programmes. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in geriatric care, promoting balance and preventing falls among the elderly.
"Preventively, physiotherapy educates individuals on posture, ergonomic practices, and exercises to reduce the risk of injuries or musculoskeletal issues. Overall, physiotherapy is a versatile discipline that contributes significantly to improving the quality of life for individuals across various health conditions and stages of life," Dr Foster said.
Dr Foster is the president of the Physiotherapy Association of Jamaica that represents the interests of Jamaican physiotherapists. "We are committed to promoting and protecting the profession of physical therapy in Jamaica; standardising clinical techniques and practices so as to maintain quality control; and achieving bargaining status," he said.
The need for the local association for physical therapists was recognised, he said, to promote and protect the profession of physical therapy in Jamaica standardise clinical techniques and practices to help to maintain quality control achieve bargaining status.
The strategic goals of the organisation, he said, are to develop a culture of lifelong learning among the membership, and to make the JPA the advocate group for physiotherapy in Jamaica.
Other goals include to actively encourage and promote membership and participation of physiotherapists in Jamaica within the JPA; to facilitate continued research, with a view to increase evidence-based practice and professional recognition; to provide accessible information on physiotherapy through various media and extend services to the community through outreach programme; and to be actively involved in the development and implementation of health policies which impact on delivery of physiotherapy care to all persons in Jamaica.
Physiotherapists can join the association by visiting the JPA’s website, https://jpa.org.jm, and click the link ‘Join Us’, or the group may be contacted at (876) 202-0852 for more details.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT AT PHYSIOTHERAPY
Your session will be unique, because it is all about you and your particular needs. In general, here is what happens:
The physiotherapist learns about your medical history;
The physiotherapist assesses and diagnoses your condition;
You receive a treatment plan that sets goals for you;
You are prescribed a course of exercises and any assistive devices needed.