Muscle physiotherapy involves physical therapy for a variety of problems related to muscles. It encompasses a wide range of diagnosis, treatments and exercises centered around only soft muscle tissue, not bones.
Since the muscle group is a large part of the human body, taking up nearly one half the body’s weight, there are many conditions to lead the patient to muscle physiotherapy. While pain is generally the first indicator of a problem, it is hardly alone. Muscle tension, stiffness, strain, swelling, cramps, and bruising all call upon a doctor to diagnose and suggest physical therapy. More serious conditions may lead to loss of movement, which is why visiting the doctor right away is so important.
Overuse, or repetitive injury is a common complaint, especially in the shoulder, legs, and wrist areas. Muscle tears are a concern among athletes, but can happen to anyone overextending the area.
Areas where muscle physiotherapy does not seem to work on is for arthritis sufferers and whiplash.
Once their physiotherapist examines and diagnoses the problem, a patient can expect him or her to set up a schedule of treatments suited to the injury. An X-ray may be needed to rule out broken bones. Therapists use Muscle physiotherapy treatments to bring back lost mobility and function.
Simple therapy incorporates the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest allows the injury a chance to begin healing. Ice reduces swelling. Compression aids in keeping swelling to a minimum and is needed to prevent blood loss. Elevation, such as for an ankle sprain to keep the ankle elevated higher than the heart, assists in reducing swelling.
Manual practice in stretching and strengthening remains high among the treatments used in muscle physiotherapy. The physiotherapist informs and directs the patient on exercise, including why they should perform these routines. Exercise does more than tone and strengthen the muscle, it also helps relieve the pain associated with muscle tears and strains.
For more serious injuries, muscle stimulators and electrical currents may be used in muscle physiotherapy to help reduce significant pain and swelling. Physical therapists rely on muscle stimulation to identify the injury, or immobilize following a severe or chronic injury. A TEMS machine sends electrical currents through the skin to the affected area, which is useful in temporarily stopping the pain.
Acupressure and acupuncture both are gaining recognition in physical therapy, and muscle physiotherapy is no exception. They aid in relaxing the muscles and relieving pain with a shown ability to help the patient recover at a faster rate.
Patients will find muscle physiotherapists in hospitals, or specialized clinics and rehabilitation centers.