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Physiotherapy; a holistic approach to acute sport injury treatment and chronic disease management

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What does it mean to approach patient treatment from a holistic perspective? Aristotle taught that systemically the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, the total effectiveness of a group of things each interacting with one another is greater than their individual, cumulative effectiveness when acting independent of one another. Physiotherapy offers just such benefit to millions of Canadians suffering from acute injury or requiring treatment, advice and intervention for chronic diseases and their side effects.

The integrated approach to health and injury treatment provided by physiotherapy can be applied to many common afflictions. From sport injuries, such as sprains, to the rehabilitation of the effects of disease and disability, to the management of chronic diseases and conditions, the advantages of a holistic approach are too numerous to count.

Physiotherapists promote and evaluate different strategies and tactics relative to the patient. Their condition, health and potential outcomes are thoroughly assessed to arrive at an optimal treatment plan. In addition to more traditional occupational treatments, the integrated system promoting overall, prolonged patient health includes education pertinent to existing and persisting health and injury issues, advice on injury prevention, council on disease prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles.
The short list of treatments includes but is by no means limited to:

Joint Manipulation

• Reduce pain and stiffness
• Helps reacquire optimal range of motion

Hot/Cold Packs
• Reduce pain and swelling
• Speeds healing through circulation management
• Improves movement and function

Skin and Wound Care

• Physio Therapists can debride non-viable tissue
• Implementation of healing strategies such as positioning, exercise, and range of motion improve the wound environment, and maximize overall function

Prescription, Application of Assistive, Adaptive, Supportive and Protective Devices

• Treatment of lingering physical limitations through use of appropriate, specific devices
• Custom fit and stock devices promote improved functionality and a return to activities
• Helps reacquire and improve range of motion

One of the most important considerations is the construction of a treatment and therapy plan that promotes the patient’s quality of life. Physiotherapy positively influences outcomes of acute sports injuries and chronic disease management through professional, efficient service and care. Aside from the relief of different symptoms, patients often rediscover new found freedom and independence based upon their encounter with physiotherapy. This can take the form of a senior extending their independent lifestyle because of a lessened threat of falling. It can take the form of a diabetic patient becoming more able to manage lifestyle choices contributing to better disease management. It can take the form of a competitive athlete extending their career through simple yet effective strategies to avoid constant, persistent injury while training.

No matter the situation the principles of holistic healing implemented by physiotherapists contribute to a substantial improvement in the quality of life for patients. The treatment of the physical needs and the improvement resulting from the alleviation of pain in many cases dramatically alter patients emotional condition and ability to cope with chronic conditions and painful injuries.


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