Physiotherapy methods that include electrotherapeutics have been around for a long time, with some records of its use dating all the way to 1767. Currently, electrotherapeutics are used to treat issued related to ligaments, muscles, and bones. Electrotherapeutics can involve laser therapy, muscular stimulation, electrical nerve stimulation, and even ultrasound. There is a large amount of research that points to the effectiveness of electrotherapeutics in physiotherapy environments, which is why these methods are commonly used to assist in healing processes. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in physiotherapy, having the skills to facilitate electrotherapeutics gives you a huge advantage in the job pool.
Continue reading to discover three facts about electrotherapeutics.
1. Studies Have Shown that Electrotherapeutics is Effective
A 1999 study by scholars Gardner, Frantz, and Schmidt found that electrotherapeutics were helpful in healing chronic wounds. The researchers looked over fifteen studies, each with a group of people who had been electronically stimulated and one who hadn’t. They found that the rate of healing per week was 22 per cent for electrical stimulation device users and only 9 per cent for the group without electronic stimulation. The researchers concluded that “electrical stimulation produces a substantial improvement in the healing of chronic wounds.”
Due to the research that proves the efficacy of electrotherapeutics, students in physiotherapist assistant training learn the basics of electrotherapeutics in their training at physiotherapy schools like the National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB).
2. Physiotherapist Assistant Diploma Grads Can Use TENS in Their Careers
TENS is an acronym referring to Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and is commonly used to treat arthritis, lower back pain, labour pain and nerve related pain. In order to help alleviate these symptoms, an electrical device is attached via skin pads to the body and electrical impulses are sent through and across the skin using ‘pulsed ultrasound.’ Physiotherapist assistants also know that some clients might want to use these devices at home in addition to the care they receive during their appointments. TENS machines that can be purchased by clients in order to have relief at home, which some professionals recommend.
Clients can purchase their own electrotherapy machines for use at home
3. Students in Physiotherapy Schools Can Treat Future Patients Using IFT
Students in physiotherapy schools may encounter interferential therapy (IFT) throughout their training. In many ways, IFT is similar to TENS, with some professionals describing it as a deeper form of TENS therapy. By using two high frequency currents that alternate out of sync and are set up so that the electric paths cross and interfere with each other in the skin, deep stimulation under the skin happens that can lead to several benefits. This treatment helps pain relief, can increase blood flow, can reduce oedema (collection of an excess of watery fluid under the skin), and stimulate muscle to help build it and maintain ranges of motion. For this treatment, physiotherapist assistants help to set up the procedure by placing damp sponges on the part of the patient’s body that will be treated. Then, the physiotherapist will oversee and complete the procedure by sending a current through the sponges.
Want to assist people in getting back on track in life with normal functioning and movement?
Chances are you’ll encounter a patient that is experiencing frozen shoulder during your time as a physiotherapist. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, has a disabling quality that can last for upwards of a year and can stop people from going to work or doing daily tasks that require shoulder movement. The cause of this condition is not entirely known, but it involves the build up of scar tissue in the shoulder joint, which ultimately limits movement. Luckily, physiotherapists know that relief can be only a few stretches away.
Read on to discover what stretches are recommended for frozen shoulder by physiotherapists.
1. Physiotherapy School Students Should Know the Pendulum Stretch
If you’re on your way to receiving your physiotherapist assistant diploma, you’ll probably encounter the ins and outs of the pendulum stretch. This stretch is done by letting the affected arm ‘hang’ while leaning over slightly and allowing it to softly swing in a small circle. Tell the patient to picture their arm like a spoon that is lightly stirring pasta in a small pot. Patients should perform 10 revolutions both clockwise and vice versa once per day until improvement is seen.
2. Physiotherapists Should Keep a Towel Handy for the Towel Stretch
During your physiotherapist assistant training you’ll learn that towels aren’t just used to warm up patients, they can be used to stretch and warm up muscles! Grab a regular bath towel and hold it behind your back, with both hands grabbing opposite ends. Using your unaffected arm, gently pull the affected arm upwards for a light stretch. Try to do these pulls 10 to 20 times per day. To help patients incorporate this stretch into their daily routine, why not encourage them to try getting in the habit of doing the towel stretch when they get out of the shower?
3. Finger Walk to Shoulder Freedom! What Physiotherapist Assistant Training Students Know
Want patients to ‘walk away’ from frozen shoulder? Let them try the finger walk stretch. Instruct your patient to stand in front of a wall about three quarters of an arm’s length away. The patient should then place two fingers on the wall, about waist level, and slowly walk up the wall using their fingers in the same way we use legs, alternating between the index finger and middle finger as the hand ascends the wall. Make sure the walk is coming from your patient’s fingers only, and not their shoulder muscles. Patients should walk their hand up the wall as far as they comfortably can and try to repeat the walk 10 to 20 times a day.
4. A Cross-Body Reach Stretch: A Classic in Physiotherapy
This is a standard stretch that patients should be doing once or twice a week, whether they are suffering from frozen shoulder or not. Instruct your patients to use their healthy arm to push the affected arm upwards until it becomes horizontally parallel with the shoulder blades. Then, gently pull the affected arm towards the opposite shoulder across the chest. This exercise can also be performed while sitting, which is a plus if your patient is suffering from any other ailments and needs to rest.
The cross-body reach stretch helps ‘unfreeze’ a patient’s shoulders
5. Physiotherapists Know the Armpit Stretch Can Loosen the Shoulder
Instruct your patient to place his or her affected arm on a shelf or platform that is about chest-high as if extending for a front crawl swimming stroke in the pool, and tell the patient to gently bend their knees until a slight stretch in the armpit area is felt. Instruct them to repeat this 10 to 20 times daily until some relief is achieved.
People don’t often think of physiotherapy when they think of pediatric care. However, it can play a huge role in treating children with a number of afflictions, such as cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, autism, and any disorder which affects motor skill development. It also plays an important role in helping children rehabilitate after an injury as well as overcoming developmental complications which may be suffered by babies born prematurely.
Many students studying for careers as physiotherapist assistants find themselves working in pediatric physiotherapy after they graduate. As dealing with children can be very different from treating adults, it’s important that programs provide students with the training necessary to meet the needs of this unique patient group.
Read on to learn four ways that physiotherapy schools help prepare students to care for children.
1. Physiotherapy Schools Teach Students to Help Children with Physical Challenges
With pediatric physiotherapy, children with a range of physical disabilities and injuries learn to maximize their independence and mobility. To help children through this process, therapeutic exercises are often incorporated with play and recreational activities, and a child’s family often plays an important part in the exercises. This helps ensure that children feel at ease and have fun while they work through difficult physical challenges.
Professionals who have a physiotherapist assistant diplomaalso play an important role in this process. Working alongside the physiotherapist, the physiotherapist assistant helps to conduct a thorough evaluation of the child’s physical capabilities, and develops, implements, and coordinates a specialized treatment schedule.
2. Physiotherapy Schools Teach Preventative Measures Against Injury
Physiotherapist’s offices are often quite active within their communities, working to promote physical health and teaching preventative measures against injury. For example, many children experience back and spinal problems as a result of wearing school backpacks that are poorly designed, too heavy, or not worn properly. To combat this, pediatric physiotherapy offices often work to promote good backpack habits among children. The physiotherapist assistant will often spearhead these initiatives, helping to develop the promotional material and assisting in talks to schoolchildren.
Pediatric physiotherapist’s offices work to educate children on things like good backpack habits.
3. Physiotherapist Assistant Students Learn to Communicate With Children
Communicating with children is a gift that even those working within the field of childcare can take years to perfect. In pediatric physiotherapy, where many children often suffer from disorders which inhibit communication skills, such as autism or cerebral palsy, it can be even more difficult.
That’s why students in physiotherapist assistant training are taught about communication disorders, and learn specialized communication skills training, to help ensure that they are ready to deal with child patients face-to-face, and make them feel comfortable and understood.
4. Physiotherapy Schools Teach Hydrotherapy
Physiotherapists help children to develop and repair motor skills, strengthen core muscles and gait, and to become more independent and strong in their mobility. Another valuable technique in pediatric physiotherapy care is hydrotherapy. Patients perform muscle exercises while submerged in water, with the increased resistance and warm water temperatures aiding muscle development. Children with neurological, orthopedic and sensory issues can all benefit from hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy can help children suffering from a wide range of difficulties.
Physiotherapy schoolsprovide a comprehensive overview of this and other therapeutic techniques to physiotherapist assistants students, allowing them to fully understand the treatments and help therapists more efficiently.
Would you like to play an important role in caring for the physical health of children?
Visit NAHB to learn more about our physiotherapist assistant diploma program or to speak with an advisor.