Most people associate physiotherapy with recovery from sports injuries, but it can actually be used for treatment and rehabilitation from a variety of conditions. If you think physio might be helpful for your condition or general physical health, but are unsure about the details and do not know how to access physiotherapy services, then this article is for you. We delve into what physio is and how you can benefit from it, as well as explaining when these services are covered by the NDIS.
What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy is a type of therapy used to help people who have been physically affected by disability, injury, or illness. Physiotherapists use manual therapy, movement, and exercise to help patients manage pain and prevent illness, as well as simply maintain health for people of any age. They focus on encouraging recovery and development, and treating abnormal physical functions.
Who Can Benefit From Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy can benefit nearly anyone, as it is used to treat common, everyday ailments like back pain, pelvic floor problems, and weight-related issues, as well as serious physical problems caused by disability or injury. The therapy usually works to improve the general strength and well-being of your body through special exercises and stretches. However, physiotherapy is especially beneficial for anyone suffering the effects of an injury or illness, and there are a variety of types of physiotherapy which relate to specific ailments.
Types of Physiotherapy:
- Cardiovascular rehabilitation:
This type of physio helps people recovering from surgery, or those suffering from cardiopulmonary conditions, by using physical endurance and stamina exercises.
- Orthopedic physical therapy:
Orthopedic physio is one of the most common types, and refers to treating musculoskeletal injuries such as sprains, fractures, bursitis, and tendonitis – it can also include recovery from orthopedic surgery. Treatment includes manual therapy, joint mobilisations, mobility training, and strength training.
- Geriatric physical therapy:
This is aimed at older patients who have difficulties with physical functions and mobility, the medical conditions could include arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis. The therapy aims to increase physical fitness, improve mobility, and reduce pain.
- Pediatric physical therapy:
Pediatric physiotherapy is used to diagnose and treat conditions that affect children, infants, and adolescents. They are usually conditions that impact the musculoskeletal system, like cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and developmental delays.
- Neurological physical therapy:
As the name suggests, this therapy assists with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy. Therapy aims to increase muscle strength, improve limb responsiveness, and help with paralysis.
- Vestibular therapy:
Inner ear conditions can often result in balance problems, and vestibular physio can help to treat these effects. The physiotherapist will use manual techniques and exercises to restore normal coordination and balance.
- Decongestive therapy:
Decongestive physiotherapy can be used to reduce the effects of conditions that create fluid retention, like lymphedema. The treatment helps to drain the accumulated fluid and make the patient more comfortable.
- Wound care therapy:
Physical therapy can be used to help with wound care, it involves improving the circulation to ensure that the wound is getting the right amount of oxygen and blood. The types of therapy used may include electric stimulation, wound care, compression therapy, and manual therapies.
When Does The NDIS Cover Physiotherapy?
The NDIS covers physiotherapy services that are being used to treat the effects of a disability. Physiotherapy falls under the Improved Daily Living category of the NDIS, and the services can be part of several sections of your plan, including as a core support and as capacity-building. The NDIS may not cover your physiotherapy if it is treating something that is not directly related to your disability, or if it is not assisting with your goals, or if it is not classified as ‘reasonable and necessary’. Your physio may be providing pain management that you really need, but if the pain is not caused by what you have included in your NDIS plan, then it won’t be covered.
What Is The Difference Between Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy?
The main difference between occupational therapy and physiotherapy is that physio focuses on improving the patient’s ability to perform movements of the body, whereas occupational therapy places emphasis on helping the patient to improve their ability to perform daily living tasks. An example of the difference is that a physio will help someone who has had their knee replaced to recover from the surgery, and an occupational therapist will help someone who has had a stroke learn how to carry out daily tasks again – such as dressing themselves and eating. An occupational therapist would not use manual therapies to treat a patient, but would recommend changes to their environment, or assistive technology that they could use. A physiotherapist focuses on the ailment itself, and uses exercises and manual therapies to align bones, improve mobility, and reduce pain.
Registered NDIS Physiotherapists
If you are recovering from an injury or have a disability or illness, and have now decided that physical therapy could be for you, then the next step is to find a physiotherapist. For people with NDIS funding, they will need to look for a registered NDIS physiotherapist at a trusted disability services organisation. Most organisations offer both physio and NDIS occupational therapy, and will be able to help you improve your physical well-being.