Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders are any injuries, damage or pain in the body's muscle tissue, joints, nerves, ligaments, tendons and muscular or skeletal structures that support the limbs or the back. Musculoskeletal disorders can affect almost any part of the body from the back and the neck to the limbs, hands and feet.  They can be caused by incorrectly lifting heavy objects, repetitive strain or direct injury or trauma. Some examples of musculoskeletal disorders that can be treated with musculoskeletal physiotherapy are carpal tunnel syndrome, ligament sprains, muscle strains, various kinds of arthritis, cartilage tears, post-operative rehabilitation, back ailments and bone fracture rehabilitation.

What is Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy is specialist physical therapy treatment for patients who are exhibiting the symptoms of a musculoskeletal disorder or who are undergoing treatment for a musculoskeletal disorder. Musculoskeletal physiotherapy aims to help the patient recover from their condition more quickly through regular treatment sessions and to develop coping strategies to aid the patient during the recovery process and prevent secondary problems from occurring.

What Does a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist Do?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapists are specialists in assessing and treating patients with musculoskeletal disorders such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.  Musculoskeletal physiotherapists have advanced training in treatments and techniques specifically applicable to musculoskeletal disorders and most will hold a Masters in physiotherapy. Most musculoskeletal physiotherapists find their patients suffer specifically with muscle and joint problems, often causing pain in the back and neck. Some treatment options can include:

  • Manipulation and manual therapy
  • Massage
  • Exercise therapy
  • Electrotherapy
  • Coping strategies and self-management techniques
  • Pain management

How can Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Help?

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy contributes to patient recovery and improved quality of life in a number of ways.

  • Improves muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improves range of motion, ease and quality of movement
  • Improves coordination and control of movement
  • Relieves pain or eliminates it entirely
  • Helps the patient to develop coping strategies to help them deal with pain or difficulty performing normal movements during the recovery process.
  • Helps you to achieve physical exercise or fitness goals
  • Teaches and consolidates healthy ways of moving to reduce the likelihood of developing musculoskeletal disorders in the future
  • Your musculoskeletal physiotherapist can devise a home physiotherapy programme to help you to continue your recovery at home or at the gym. They can also formulate a maintenance programme once you have recovered to make sure you continue to benefit from your physical therapy.
  • musculoskeletal physiotherapy can ultimately speed your recovery and allow you to return to normal activities as early as possible.
  • Decrease swelling and inflammation
  • Improve the patient's day to day level of independence and self-sufficiency

The patient's condition and unique set of symptoms will be taken into account when the physiotherapist is putting together his or her treatment plan.  If musculoskeletal physiotherapy is recommended for you, don't be afraid to ask questions of your physiotherapist and make sure you understand what treatment is recommended and that your expectations are realistic.

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