Psychosocial Aspects of Physical Rehabilitation

Disability and Adjustment

Disability can be likened to the proverbial iceberg: the onlooker can only see the tip, whereas the entity itself contains more hidden aspects of its being than are revealed on the surface. An expression of physical pain or the absence of normal sense experiences, the lack of sensory input or motor output, a missing or dysfunctional limb or structure, and other such reflections of loss are just the surface structure of physical disability.

Yet, these are the major domains that traditionally have been addressed when dealing with physical disability. All of the uniquely combined thoughts and feelings that the individual has gathered during a lifetime of personal experiences shape that individual’s perception of disablement.

The factors that shape individual reactions include the set of values, directions, and prohibitions taken on by the individual. These combine with innate and acquired drives, needs, and experiences to create an individual unique perceptual mode and form an individualized cognitive base. It is through this that the individual has learned to see the self and the surrounding world.

The resultant self-image, whether conscious or unconscious, organizes the stage and creates a set of values and expectations by which one measures oneself and one’s worth. It becomes the compass with which one steers through life and guides relationships, and the framework that structures the goals and foundations of one’s individualized world.

Through this process, a method of coping and functioning emerges – the style of coping through which one recognized the self. Then suddenly, or gradually, depending on the nature and extent of a disablement, the lifelong foundation and structure of that “self” become damaged and weakened by the impact of the disability, oftentimes to the point of total collapse.

The disabling condition as well as the perception of it disrupts the structure that had been so carefully erected. Rules and roles change; relative independence and the ability to perform the essential tasks of living are gone, or perceived as such. The ability to give and take love, care, affection, and support is diminished or lost. Relative financial stability and security may vaporize into thin air.

Intellectually, orthopedic specialists and other healthcare personnel can understand the trauma and may even be sensitive enough to feel some of it. They may associate the patients’ suffering with recollections of some pain or loss experiences they have personally experienced. The physical therapist, for instance, working towards the goal of rehabilitating a client, needs to be cognizant of the possibility that adjustment to the actual physical disability may not be the most difficult adjustment for the patient.

The individual will most likely have a more difficult task adjusting to new perceptions about him or herself and the societal attitudes toward the disability. These factors and the individual’s reactions to the new situation will most likely impact on the overall adjustment, the rehabilitation treatment process, and its outcome.

Ignoring this probability may lead to a serious level of interference with or complication of the therapeutic outcome. An awareness of these issues can prevent or minimize their interference and enable the clinician to mobilize the very same factors in the service of the rehabilitative effort.

Adaptation: A Survival Modality

Living is a constant ongoing adjustment and adaptation process encompassing different operating levels of an organism and its life space. This process is active at the physiologic, physical, psychologic, and social levels. Although there are indeed significant differences among these aspects of functioning, we should keep in mind that they are but part of an entity that functions as an integrated whole. Any separation between levels and parts of an individual’s system is an artificial convenience, because no part within the person is independent of the rest of that individual.

Psychologic adjustment is accordingly part and parcel of overall adjustment in general, rather than a separate independent entity. There are many aspects of the dynamic, interactive, and ongoing process of an individual’s adaptation within the context of total life space. This life space includes, among others

  1. the body total with its various genetic, electrochemical, hormonal, and neurologic configurations,
  2. innate instinctual drives, as well as conditioned mental mechanisms,
  3. sociocultural, spiritual, and ethnic beliefs and value systems as well as socioeconomic realities of the time and place in which a person interacts, and
  4. the historic-mythologic, philosophic-ideologic, or even imagined-delusional image that one feels part of and is influenced by.

Lastly, a person’s disability is to a large extent directly related to the way that he or she perceives the condition. The extent of a disability will increase if the focus is on deficiencies rather than assets. Much of such focusing depends on the premorbid makeup of an individual, his or her coping repertoire, and on the cultural perception of the disabling situation.

The interaction of these factors will determine the adjustment to the disablement.

Cedric Loiselle is an experienced writer who enjoys imparting useful information to many readers. The topics he usually writes about include business and finance, health, and home improvement.

The Importance of Physiotherapy for Injury Recovery

It is a fact that physiotherapy is required for some types of injury recovery plans. Physiotherapy plays a pivotal role in ensuring the full recovery of millions of people a year from various injuries.

Here, we will look at why it is so important to use a proper physiotherapist and how physiotherapy in Brisbane, and all around Australia, can assist those who are having issues with injuries.

What Makes a Good Physiotherapist?

Initially, a good physiotherapist protects the injured tissue before assessment. After their initial assessment, they will be able to tell you a rough recovery time and how much work needs to be done. They will then offer a personal physio program, which is important for a full recovery.

The next stage is then the rehabilitation of the injury, bringing back strength to the area, while at the same time, keeping the area well protected to ensure no further damage is possible.

Last but not least, a good physiotherapist will ensure that you are fully fit to return to action. This will often include putting the patient through various tests. If a patient is returning to sports, then these tests will usually involve the sport in question.

A good physiotherapist will put you through your paces. They will also know the exact time when you are ready to return to full activity. The importance of this is undeniable because returning from injury quickly can be potentially catastrophic and pushing a patient too far can cause further damage.

Movement is Key to Recovery

If you are having issues with an injury, moving that part of the body in certain ways can assist it with recovery. Failure to do these movements could lead to a less than desirable recovery taking longer than expected. Furthermore, if some injuries do not receive physiotherapy, they may never recover totally. While physiotherapy may seem daunting to some, it is important that it is carried out for some injuries to recover fully.

Importance of Professional Physiotherapy

The actions you take after injuring yourself will determine how well your injury recovers. Trying self-physiotherapy or using somebody that is less than qualified is dangerous because you are putting your own recovery at risk. This is why professional sports teams have full time physiotherapists to look after all of their players.

How To Choose A Registered Massage Therapist

Registered massage therapists are required to obtain a license or certification from an accredited massage school in the state that they are employed.

Massage therapists are also required to take annual continuing education courses that update their knowledge and expertise.

Therapeutic massage may be prescribed by a medical doctor or used as adjunct therapy in a health spa or chiropractic office for specific pain or other therapies.

Whether you are new to the massage therapy experience or have been a massage patron for a long time, the time may come when you need to seek a reputable massage therapist.

The first step is to understand your own physical and emotional needs before choosing the best registered massage therapist for your bodywork.

What Benefits do You Require from Massage Therapy?

Often, massage therapists specialize in different areas of bodywork and have experience in areas such as: sports related injuries or training enhancement, emotional and physical stress, general aches and muscular pain, or massage techniques related to medical interventions. After an assessment of what the needs are required from a massage therapist, the search for the best professional to provide therapy is easier and clearer.

Ask the Potential Massage Therapist Questions Related to Your Care

Referrals from friends may be beneficial, but the therapist may not specialize or have experience with your individual therapeutic needs. Often, your physician or chiropractor will provide you with a reputable massage therapist that can provide you with the specialized care that you need.

However, it is important to interview the therapist and find out their location and availability. When searching for a registered massage therapist, ask these helpful questions in an interview. Depending on your therapy needs, ask the therapist some basic questions to ascertain their qualifications with your injury or condition.

Are they certified or licensed by the state? You may be reimbursed by health insurance for massage therapy is it is prescribed by a physician, but the therapist must be registered.
• Ask them to describe their experience and special focus areas of their practice that relate to your needs.
• How much do they charge and do they give discounts. Massage therapists usually charge hourly rates and vary widely.
• Their location and accessibility is important to meet your needs. Driving a long distance after a massage may be uncomfortable for you and defeat the purpose of the therapy.

Communication and Trust is Important in a Therapeutic Relationship

When you interview or speak with your potential massage therapist, listen and evaluate their communication and listening skills.

Effective massage therapy requires a therapeutic relationship that exists between you and the therapist that creates a stress free environment. It is imperative that the therapist listen to your needs and how you are responding to the massage techniques.

Referrals from Agencies, Massage Schools and Internet Sources

When choosing a therapist from the agencies and internet websites, always seek a registered therapist. Interview each professional and ask the questions needed to ensure your choosing the right person for the job.

Kim Kelley is a freelance writer and currently taking courses to become a physiotherapist. She enjoys guest blogging, as it educates others on the ins and outs of physiotherapy.

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Physical Therapy and Back Strain

Back pain affects roughly 80% of the population in one way or another at some point during their lifetime. It appears in many forms and has the potential to disrupt your everyday life. Back strain is generally related to nerve and muscular problems, arthritis and degenerative disc disease.

Generally back pain is felt in the lower back and buttocks and although the pain can be severe it is not always  serious. Studies have shown that people who undergo physical therapy shortly after noticing the problem have reduced symptoms and often recover completely.

Work is often the cause of back strains or injuries and because of this thousands of claims for back injury compensation related to back problems are filed against employers yearly.

As most people know back pain can be caused by a number of things, these include but are not limited to:

1. Injuries

This is the single largest cause of back pain. An injury is usually caused by using muscles in your back that you normally would not. An example of this would be lifting a heavy weight or doing the gardening.

Tripping, falling a small distance or even stretching over exuberantly may incur some minor back pain and discomfort. A severe back injury could be the result of a car accident, a direct blow to the back or a high energy fall onto the buttocks. Back Injury compensation is increasing due to the number of accidents that happen in the workplace.

2. Lifting

People who lift/ move objects as part of their job often find themselves developing back problems. The objects do not always need to be heavy as lifting even a small weight numerous times or objects with a non conventional grip/ irregular shape can cause strains on your back.

3. Incorrect Posture

Discomfort and pain in your back especially the lower back may be the consequence of incorrect posture, such as sitting incorrectly at your desk. This is due to your body being unable distribute your weight around adequately and therefore places pressure on the disks and muscles. Changing the way that you are seated will often relieve you of the discomfort within a short period of time.

Most of us have been told that rest is the best remedy for back problems and although this is relatively true, 3 days of bed rest can often make the situation worse. It is advisable that you should remain active without straining or lifting heavy objects. If you feel that your symptoms are too severe or that you are not noticing any improvements, it is generally a good idea to visit your G.P and start thinking about physical therapy.

Physical therapy is a treatment generally offered to people who have developed an injury or have a disablement. It is usually used as a treatment before a more aggressive and even surgical route is taken. It is practiced all over the world and is offered by a majority of sources such as hospitals and fitness and rehabilitation centres.

Physical therapy has been around since 460BC and involved massages and therapeutic rubs. Now as you can imagine as time as progressed so has P.T and treatments such as hydrotherapy involving movement in water are now widely available to those who need it. Physical therapy has been proven to improve mobility, reduce pain and create a better standard of living in a wide variety of scenarios.

As physical therapy has a very wide scope of available treatments It would be impractical to list and explain all of them. The more common types of P.T include:

Passive physical therapy (modalities), this often involves heat and cooling treatments. An example of this would be a heat pad being applied to the affected area to warm the muscles before stretching. An ice pack may also be used to sooth muscles and aid in there recovery after exercise.

Active physical therapy focuses on movements and exercises specific to the area of the body affected. For instance someone who is suffering with lower back pain may work towards building their core muscles.

Core muscles are based in the abdominal region and play a part in supporting the lower back. Active physical therapy would place an emphasis on building these muscles without putting a strain on the lower back which should improve or even eliminate symptoms and discomfort.

Physical therapy is supported by a multitude of studies and articles performed worldwide and although certain strains and pains will often improve on their own, PT actively plays a part in reducing the amount of pain encountered and improves mobility. Continuing with an ongoing physical therapy programme should reduce the chances of the strain reoccurring.

Researchers Creating New Advancements In The Field Of Rehabilitative Therapy

ike most fields in the healthcare industry, the Physical and Occupational Therapy/Rehabilitation field is reaping therapeutic benefits from constant technological advancements that assist both practitioners and patients in facilitating the strengthening and healing of ailing or injured bodies.

Keep reading for 3 of some of the most interesting advances in OT and PT today.

Therapy Basics

An Occupational Therapist specializes in treatment for recovering physical, developmental and cognitive daily skills. The Occupational Therapist performs an initial assessment as each patient’s goals vary. While both the therapist and patient work together, the achieving goal may be improving or maintaining current patient functioning levels of daily skills.

A Physical Therapist implements the same initial assessment, yet concentrates treatment on personalized physical manipulation and exercise while covering a range of musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiopulmonary impairment and improvement.

A female physical therapist performing a shoulder PNF pattern on a male patient. The male patient, who is in his late fifties, is lying on a treatment table. The image is located in a clinical setting. The therapist is in her early thirties.

Technological Advancements Benefit Both Patients and Therapists

One way both practitioners and patients experience improved therapy regimens is through modernized video concepts.  Researchers in the field of Physical and Occupational Rehabilitation have implemented improvements as a direct influence from video game programs. New concepts in Virtual Environmental Therapy and Virtual Rehabilitation Therapy, commonly known as VE and VR Therapy bring clinicians and patients a controlled virtual environment tool for stimulating and focusing on motor skills and cognitive tasks.

This advanced video concept allows therapists a complete program for assessing a person’s level of performance and function in a virtual environment. Not only does the virtual environment increase patient interest, participation and motivation, the new technology allows therapists a resource for treating patients at a distance. Many individuals in highly rural areas benefit without extensive travel to a facility. Studies show most patients perform better in their own environment. This concept decreases the number of people displaced from their homes at an in-patient rehabilitation facility.

Advanced technology is also bringing techniques in the category of iPad and iPod tools. Occupational Therapists implement iPod and iPad applications for a patient’s cognitive retraining regimen. No longer will patients wait for a scheduled appointment time for cognitive exercises when the tool is at the fingertips of the therapist and patient.

Additionally, ultra-sound and electrical stimulation commonly used with rehabilitation has improved with advancement. Although therapy has implemented ultra-sound for many years in treating tissue disorders, researchers are creating a combination ultra-sound and biological treatment for degenerative tendon damage.

The new programs focus on electronically detecting the damaged tissue, introducing biological treatment directly into deteriorating regions and using ultra-sound for breaking up and disintegrating diseased tissue. The combination treatment shows promise for promoting and speeding up healing duration as well.

The end result of technological advancements in this particular health area is that individuals and their families receiving Occupational or Physical Therapy Rehabilitation receive an extensive and detailed service at a much lower cost. The easy access also affords medical professionals an opportunity to assist a larger range of patients due to decreases in traveling time and cost constraints. Overall, the positive state of mind on the patient increases therapeutic improvement levels.

Jennifer M. is a blogger and physical therapy assistant from Philadelphia who keeps her skills current by studying the latest developments in healthcare technology.  In addition to her current profession, she is also studying for a Medical Informatics Degree Online.